Federal officials are removing 1,100 tons of contaminated soil that sparked a water emergency at a southern Californian city, according to this article.
The City of Barstow was in a state of emergency with a temporary water ban in November of 2010, after perchlorate was found in the municipal water system. Residents were required to use bottled water until the system was flushed.
Perchlorate is a manmade and naturally occurring chemical used to produce rocket fuel and explosives, but can also be found in bleach and fertilizers, according the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website. Perchlorate levels in drinking water are regulated because of research indicating it can disrupt the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones for growth and development.
The contaminant is thought to have leeched from a former fireworks manufacturing site to one of the city’s main drinking wells.
An EPA investigation found “significant perchlorate contamination” at the site, which is now a residential area. The contaminant is thought to have migrated about 3,000 feet through a utility trench to reach the drinking water.
Launched in early December, the EPA cleanup will excavate the top three feet of soil from the contaminated area, relocating it to a toxic materials landfill.
The EPA plans to remove the top three feet of soil from the contaminated site and truck the dirt to a special landfill that handles toxic materials. The excavated site will then be covered with plastic and clean fill. Estimates have the cleanup complete within the month.
Barstow is roughly two hours northeast of Los Angeles by car, according to Google Maps.