Properties marked for utility ID purposes

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Some properties on S. Maumee Street recently were marked and had residents wondering if something was being added to the monitoring system set up on the former Tecumseh Products property. In 2011, a Permeable Reactive Barrier (PRB) was installed to filter a plume of contaminated groundwater found in the area in 2009. A monitoring well network was also installed to help evaluate the effectiveness of the PRB.

“The new markings are merely for utility identification along there,” said Jason Smith, Tecumseh Products Corporate Environmental Director, who has been involved with the project, overseeing plans to comply with an Environmental Protection Agency’s administrative order that followed the discovery of the contaminants.

“We had a soil gas monitoring (SGM) well that failed for some reason, and we just had to replace it,” said Smith. “The SGM wells have been part of our plan. In order to replace it, we have to make sure we don’t hit utilities, so that’s what the markings identify. There are no additional wells being installed.”

The contaminants found in 2009 were primarily 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethene and the latter’s breakdown products. Company officials noted at that time that the levels of chemical concentrations, called TCEs, had leached into groundwater and could contaminate wells, but according to standards, the concentrations were such that less than one in 1,000 people would get sick after a lifetime of exposure.

During an interview in March, Smith said the plume was being carefully monitored and the levels of contamination were decreasing, with the PRB doing what it was designed to do and soil and gas monitoring showing improvement. The monitoring process timeline extends to 2019, and the EPA will determine when the project is complete.

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