EPA Looks To Add Georgetown Groundwater Site To Superfund Priorities List


A 60-day public comment period is underway on the U.S. EPA’s proposal to add the Georgetown North Groundwater site to the Superfund National Priorities List, setting into motion a plan to take remedial cleanup action that would be financed under the federal program.
The Georgetown North site is a groundwater plume. It encompasses about one square mile underlying commercial and residential areas. The pollution is from two known former dry-cleaning services, but the EPA says there could be other potential contributors to the plume as well.
The Georgetown Water Department is effectively treating the water supply, but the additional cleanup would maintain safe drinking water and protect human health and the environment for years to come, according to the EPA.
Comments may be submitted online through May 17th. For more information, please CLICK HERE

“No community deserves to have contaminated sites near where they live, work, play, and go to school. Nearly 2 out of 3 of the sites being proposed or added to the priorities list are in overburdened or underserved communities,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said. “EPA is building a better America by taking action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect communities’ health, and return contaminated land to safe and productive reuse for future generations.”

According to the EPA:

The Georgetown North Groundwater site is a groundwater plume – an area of groundwater that has been polluted by a contaminant release at a concentration above the laboratory reporting limit.  The area encompasses approximately one square-mile underlying commercial and residential areas within the town of Georgetown in southern Delaware.  While the public drinking water in Georgetown meets state and federal standards, the groundwater is contaminated with the solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and its breakdown products. PCE, sometimes referred to as perc, is an organic chemical introduced in the environment by commercial and industrial operations, such as solvents used by dry cleaning activities.  EPA considers PCE as likely to be carcinogenic to humans.

The groundwater plume has two known former dry-cleaning sources – Georgetown Dry Cleaners and Thoro-Kleen Dry Cleaners. Plumes from these two facilities appear to have co-mingled and contributed to the contamination of municipal groundwater wells in Georgetown. There may also be other potential contributors to this plume which have not yet been fully investigated. 

The state of Delaware began their investigation into potential sources when the water authority reported contaminants in the untreated water in 1985.  The state has previously conducted response actions at both the Georgetown Cleaners and Thoro-Kleen Dry Cleaners to remove storage tanks above and below ground.

Groundwater was not addressed during these tank removal activities at either property.   The town uses groundwater wells as the primary source of drinking water in this area.  Georgetown upgraded its water treatment plant in 2017 to remove the contaminants and currently meets all federal and state health standards for drinking water.

Vapor intrusion, a process by which chemicals in soil or groundwater can travel to indoor air above a contaminated site, may also pose a risk to residents and workers in buildings near the groundwater plume.   EPA will be conducting additional vapor intrusion investigations of buildings in the area in the upcoming months.

The state of Delaware referred the site to EPA in 2016 to assist in more fully characterizing the extent of the groundwater contamination.  The State has concurred on EPA’s decision to list the Georgetown North Groundwater site to the NPL.

When EPA proposes to add a site to the NPL, the Agency publishes the proposed rule in the Federal Register and notifies the community through the local media so interested members of the community can comment on the proposal.  

How to comment:

Online:  httpEXITEXIT EPA WEBSITE://www.regulations.govEXITEXIT EPA WEBSITE   Search for EPA-HQ-OLEM-2022-0190

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Docket Center 
Docket # EPA-HQ-OLEM-2022-0190
Mailcode 28221T
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW 
Washington, DC 20460   

For information about Superfund and the NPL: http://www.epa.gov/superfund