Monday, January 30, 2012

Perryton on Track to Leave Contamination in Place

By: Duane Craig

Residents of Perryton, Texas, will no doubt be accepting the possibility that water in an interval of the Ogallala Aquifer will remain contaminated with carbon tetrachloride, according to a recent updateto that site’s Superfund status.

The Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public comment period to get input on its proposal to name the upper interval of the aquifer under one portion of town as technically impractical to clean up. That upper zone of the Ogallala is not considered to be a section of the aquifer that is a productive zone for water supplies in the area because the city draws water from the lower portion of the aquifer.

The local environmental issues associated with the groundwater were discovered in the late ’80s when one of the city’s wells tested positive for carbon tetrachloride. It was taken out of service, and over the years a pump-and-treat system was installed in the lower part of the aquifer to cleanup the chemical. That process is in its seventh year and has cleaned up the lower aquifer. The well that was taken out of service was capable of acting as a pathway for contamination to travel from the upper portion of the aquifer to the lower. That well has been plugged to prevent the contamination from migrating.

The contamination in the upper aquifer is bounded by Brillhart Street, First Street, Colgate Street and State Route 83.

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