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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Chemicals from Superfund site infiltrating 112 water wells in Prescott


By Terry Davis | Mar 7, 2020

Village Cleaners in Prescott, Arizona | Facebook

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) recently found traces of harmful chemicals used in past dry-cleaning operations at a Superfund site near the Miller Valley Fry’s gas station in Prescott, affecting 112 water wells.

The chemicals in question are tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE), according to a recent report in The Daily Courier.

PCE as defined by the ADEQ is “volatile organic compound used primarily as a dry-cleaning solvent and de-greaser,” and TCE saw frequent use as a de-greaser. Both of these chemicals are known to be carcinogens.

The pollution caused by these chemicals has affected 112 private exempt water wells. However, based on ADEQ surveys, a number of the wells are unused and others are not used for bathing or drinking water. Instead, the wells are used for irrigation operations.

The chemicals are left from former dry cleaning operations in the Fair Street area.

“It is from historic use, not current use,” Matt Killeen, the environmental coordinator for the City of Prescott, told the Daily Courier.

The particular chemical that is causing the concern at the Superfund site is no longer in use by dry cleaners, because it “lost favor about 10 years ago,” according to Killeen.

Roxey Roach, owner Village Cleaners, the lone dry-cleaning business currently on Fair Street, said the industry now uses a non-hazardous solvent for dry cleaning operations.

“There is very little waste, and the solvent never leaves the machine, except as dirt and grime,” Roach said, “And the disposal of this waste is regulated by the state.”

Village Cleaners has been tested by ADEQ and the business is not in the contaminated area, according to Roach.

"We’re in the clear; we’re not in the contaminated zone at all,” Roach said.

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Arizona Department of Environmental QualityCity of Prescott

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