700 SOUTH 1600 EAST PCE PLUME
SALT LAKE CITY, UT
On this page:
- What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- Sampling and Monitoring
On related pages:
The 700 South 1600 East PCE Plume site is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Routine sampling of the Mount Olivet Cemetery irrigation well in the 1990s first detected tetrachloroethylene (PCE) contamination in groundwater. This detection led to the discovery of the site (formerly known as the Mount Olivet Cemetery Plume) and several subsequent investigations. The suspected source of contamination is historic dry-cleaning operations at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. Investigation of the site is ongoing.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
VA was identified as a potential responsible party due to historic use of PCE in a dry cleaning facility at the George E. Wahlen VA Medical Center in the 1970s. VA, in coordination with EPA and UDEQ, is currently conducting the RI/FS that will determine the nature and extent of contamination at the site, identify technologies available to address this type of contamination, and will evaluate performance of technologies that may be used to clean up the site.
VA’s accelerated study is split into two phases. The first phase, completed in 2015, sampled 36 properties for indoor air, outdoor air and near-slab soil gas. Samples were evaluated for PCE as well as other constituents and of those samples none were above the action level of 5.97 ppbv (parts per billion by volume). The second phase, completed in September 2016, included additional indoor air sampling in identified houses, near-slab soil gas sampling, open-field soil gas sampling, surface water and shallow groundwater sampling.
The RI report will be prepared using data collected, followed by the feasibility study (FS) to complete the RI/FS process for this accelerated action.
Routine sampling of the Mount Olivet Cemetery irrigation well in the 1990s first detected PCE at a concentration of 32 micrograms per liter (μg/L) in groundwater. The national drinking water standard for PCE is 5.0 μg/L. This detection led to further investigations of the site.
EPA began a site investigation in 1999 that included installation and sampling of six monitoring wells and sampling of the Mount Olivet Cemetery well and Salt Lake City municipal well. Detected concentrations of PCE ranged from 11 to 320 μg/L.
A 2004 site investigation detected PCE in a Salt Lake City municipal drinking water well at a concentration of 2.23 (μg/L). As a precautionary measure, Salt Lake City Public Utilities removed the well from service. EPA notified the VA in 2006 that it would defer listing the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) while local city officials sought money from Congress to address the issue.
In 2010, PCE was discovered again in several residential springs located downgrade from the plume. A preliminary assessment/site investigation (PA/SI) completed in 2011 by UDEQ confirmed the presence of PCE in the springs and shallow groundwater, that it potentially impacted the groundwater and concluded that the contamination was likely connected to the 700 South 1600 East PCE Plume. Both the city and state supported the proposed listing of the site on the NPL on September 18, 2012, as site conditions and PCE exposure pathways were better defined and mitigation funding efforts did not come to fruition locally. In May 2013, EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s NPL.
What Is the Current Site Status?
VA, in coordination with EPA and Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), is conducting a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) at the site. The RI/FS will determine the nature and extent of contamination at the site, identify technologies available to address this type of contamination, and evaluates performance of technologies that may be used to clean up the site.
VA is beginning the remedial investigation (RI) with an accelerated study near the intersection of 900 South and 1200 East, known as the East Side Springs, to address possible vapor intrusion. This area has springs and shallow depth to the groundwater. The accelerated study is to assess if PCE is found in indoor air spaces or shallow groundwater and will inform future remedial actions. Phase I was completed in 2015 and phase II was completed in September 2016.
In summer of 2018, VA is installing shallow and deep monitoring wells. The well installations will be used to help trace the PCE plume to the source and to define the dimensions and extent of the plume and to support the development of remedial methods.
In addition, VA will also conduct an Historic Records Review (HRR) to further VA’s knowledge of assessment activities conducted and historic uses of land in the local area. The agency will use the information gathered to better understand the nature and extent of the 700 South 1600 East PCE Plume site.
Sampling and Monitoring
The site is being routinely sampled and monitored. This work is occurring under the Superfund remedial investigation (RI) process. VA is beginning the RI with an accelerated study near the intersection of 900 South and 1200 East, known as the East Side Springs, to address possible vapor intrusion. This area has springs and shallow groundwater. The accelerated study is to assess if PCE is found in indoor air spaces or shallow groundwater and inform any future actions.
Samples are being analyzed for PCE as well as other constituents because as PCE breaks down chemically, other constituents may form. Other constituents include: trichloroethylene (TCE); cis 1,2 dichloroethene (cis1,2 DCE); trans 1,2 dichloroethene (trans1,2 DCE); 1,1 dichloroethene (1,1 DCE); and vinyl chloride.