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The Site Assessment Section (SAS), Ohio Department of Health, under cooperative agreement program with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), prepared this health consultation at the request of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Region V, Emergency Response Branch, to evaluate if a groundwater source removal action at Tri-State Tank Cleaning, Inc., is warranted to protect public health, especially the residents living in the Village of Coal Grove.

Coal Grove is in Upper Township, Lawrence County, Ohio. It is southeast of Ironton, along a section of the Ohio River. The Tri-State Tank site is in a residential and light industrial neighborhood of Coal Grove.

In 1993, USEPA undertook a removal action at the Tri-State site to remove caustic solids, acid liquids, solvents, paint wastes, laboratory chemicals, leaking drums and containers, above ground storage tanks, underground storage tanks, and a wastewater treatment plant. The major chemical of concern was Trichloroethylene (TCE). The 1993 removal action addressed the abandoned wastes on the site only. However, a plume of TCE contamination remained in the groundwater, and the highest concentration of TCE found in the shallow portion of the aquifer on the site was 557 parts per billion (ppb). The wellfield that supplies the drinking water to the Coal Grove is 0.25 miles northwest and down gradient from the site [1].

The Coal Grove wellfield has four production wells. Production wells 2, 3, and 4 have been the most productive wells. A fourth well, well 1, has a lower yield and produces lower quality water than the other three wells. This well is currently used only to supplement water during peak demand periods [2].

TCE has been detected in the Coal Grove’s production wells since the late 1980s at concentrations above the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 5 ppb. The concentration of TCE in the village’s production well 2 exceeded the MCL by four fold. Upon this discovery, the village removed production well 2 from service. In 1990, the village began to pump production well 2 to waste in order to prevent increasing levels of TCE in the village’s three other production wells. An Ohio EPA study, which took place in 1994/1995, found that the TCE originated from a plume at the Tri-State Tank site.

Production well 2, which is now the intercepter well, was one of the wellfield’s most productive wells. Since the detection of TCE, the village has been operating only two primary production wells, wells 3 and 4. The loss of well 2 has placed the village’s water supply in jeopardy. Any prolonged down time of either production well 3 or 4 would cause an emergency which would require the village to purchase water, at a significant expense to the village, from nearby Ironton [2].

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