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TROJAN CORP. TO TEST SOIL FOR SAKE OF CLEAN WATER

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Trojan Corp. will conduct a contaminated soils investigation in and around its explosives manufacturing plant as part of a new agreement with the state Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste.

Meanwhile, state officials say that once construction of a temporary water pipe to a Mapleton home is complete, no known households will be using potentially tainted groundwater.Recent sampling of Mapleton's municipal water supply showed that contaminant levels do not exceed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for safe drinking, according to the Division of Water Quality. Earlier tests showed nitrates and the explosive RDX in the groundwater. State and local health officials, however, said the contaminants didn't pose a health hazard.

The water quality division required Trojan to clean up an underground nitrate plume that began moving northwest of the 550-acre plant when a synthetically lined nitric acid pond ruptured in 1986, releasing 750,000 gallons into the soil. Some residents feared drinking well water in Mapleton would make them sick or possibly cause cancer.

The 30-page agreement reached with the Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste, which is open for public comment, will provide the framework for Trojan's investigation of potential hazardous waste releases, said David McCleary, a state environmental scientist. There are 60 solid waste sites at the plant.

"We don't usually get involved in the actual investigation," he said. Rather, Trojan and possibly a private contractor will submit periodic reports to the state for review.

Dr. Joseph Miner, director of the City-County Health Department of Utah County, said he's satisfied with the steps being taken to reduce the potential for future water contamination. He said he's pleased Trojan is making a cleanup plan and that the state is holding the company to it.

"They'll never clean up what's already in the ground. That's there forever," he said. "Fortunately, it's not at a level that will make water unsafe to drink."

Mapleton resident David Nemelka has asserted that well water is making people sick. His family has used bottled water for a year. A temporary water line being run to Nemelka's house will connect it to the city water system. It would later be hooked to a proposed 12-inch water pipe east of his home.

Trojan has committed $70,000 to expand the Mapleton water system. It also committed to finding replacement water sources should the current one become tainted.

"I would not hesitate to live there or drink the water at this point," Miner said.