Agreement reached to clean up West Bountiful plume

May 29 2011 - 9:00pm

FARMINGTON -- Davis County officials approved the cleanup of an underground contaminated plume in West Bountiful by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Davis County Commission recently entered into an environmental covenant with the EPA, granting it approval to clean up, as part of a Superfund site, county-owned property that has been affected by a underground plume of water contaminated with PCE (tetrachloroethylene).

The contaminated plume poses no threat to the county's drinking water supply, but there are indications that the plume is beginning to move in the direction of the Holly Oil refinery, said Dave Spence, Davis County environmental health services division director.

Spence said the underground plume at roughly 344 S. 500 West in West Bountiful will be cleaned up over the next 50 years with the EPA using a technique similar to what the United States Air Force is using in cleaning up underground TCE plumes in north Davis County.

The TCE plumes, originating from Hill Air Force Base, also pose no risk to the area's drinking water supply, according to officials.

"The plume is moving and this seems the best way to do it," Spence said of having the EPA come in.

The underground contamination, first discovered in 1996, is suspected of having been caused by a dry- cleaning agent used by a dry-cleaning business in that area, West Bountiful City Administrator Craig Howe said.

The plume "covers the bottom eighth of the city," Howe said. "It's huge."

"Our biggest concern is that it is not impacting our residents," Howe said of the plume the EPA approached the city about cleaning up about a year ago.

"They've been doing testing for years," he said.

Like the county, each landowner affected by the plume has entered into an environmental covenant with the EPA, which is there on a Superfund assignment, Davis County property manager Tony Thompson said.

"There is no cost to the county for the cleanup," Thompson said.

The covenant states the EPA has notified the landowners about the plume and that it will clean it up. As a result landowners have agreed not to take any legal action against the federal government and its attempt to remedy the situation, Thompson said.

The EPA will extract the groundwater from the soil, filter and clean it, removing the contaminants, before discharging the water out to the Legacy Preserve near Legacy Parkway, Thompson said.

Because the EPA will not be doing a high rate of water extraction, making for minimal water flow, the clean discharged water could evaporate into the soil prior to reaching the preserve, Thompson said.

Michael Storck, state project manager for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality Environmental Response & Remediation Division, and EPA project manager Mario Rubles, based out of Denver, could not be reached for comment on the cleanup project.

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