TAYLORSVILLE — What is it, how much is there and where is it headed are just a few questions the city and state will try to answer as they investigate a plume of contaminated groundwater beneath a city park.
The city has sought the help of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, which has compiled a Brownfields assessment work plan. City leaders are reviewing the plan and may give the DEQ the go-ahead to begin testing by September.
In the area of 4800 South and Redwood Road, the city owns park property, which includes a skate park, where it plans to expand with a community center. Just south of there is a dry-cleaning business, believed to be the source of contamination that appears to be slowly moving northeast, toward a canal and a culinary water source. Suspected contaminants include perchloroethylene (PCE) and tetrachloroethene (TCE), used in dry cleaning and degreasing solutions. An earlier environmental survey revealed the pollutants.
In the late 1980s, TCE contamination rendered a 5-million-gallons-per-day Sugarhouse well unusable. Last year, Bountiful was again added to the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund National Priority List for an area where several dry-cleaning businesses operate.
As part of its involvement in a state-sponsored voluntary cleanup program, the city is taking the lead on testing for contaminants.
"The City Council said it would be irresponsible not to try to facilitate some solution," said City Administrator John Inch Morgan. Elected officials got their first look at the state's plan in a special July 11 meeting.
If given the green light, the state will use EPA funds to take readings from gas metering devices during two weeks of testing. Based on the outcome, soil and water samples could follow in phase two of testing. Most of the work would be done on city property.
"It's kind of good news rather than bad news — that there's a service the state is offering," said Brent Everett, DEQ's section manager for the Division of Environmental Response and Remediation.
If cleanup is necessary, the state will provide government oversight during the process. If the city meets its remediation goals, the state can issue a certificate of completion, which reduces the city's liability and essentially gives the park a clean bill of health as an "acceptable use" area.