August 23, 2010 - The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a plan last week to prevent toxic vapors from rising into a Mountain View neighborhood's homes and businesses.
Under the plans signed by the EPA on Aug. 16, fans or blower systems may be installed underneath the foundations of buildings in the "MEW" Superfund site to remove the vapors.
The MEW site -- bordered by E. Middlefield Road, Ellis Street, North Whisman Road and Moffett Field -- was once home to industrial companies and government agencies such as the Navy. They used chemicals in their operations that remain in the groundwater, primarily the solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE. The site now contains more than 70 commercial buildings and 100 residences.
Efforts to clean up the groundwater are ongoing, but the EPA discovered several years ago that the toxins were also rising into the air inside the buildings. While the agency determined there were no immediate health risks, the vapors could present a long-term problem.