EPA Proposes to Connect 52 Residences to City Water, Scottsbluff (Ex) Air Force Base Site, Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 is making a one-time offer to connect 52 homes in the Hillerage community to Scottsbluff’s city water line, due to contamination found in 20 of 24 private drinking water wells sampled. The contaminant is arsenic, found at levels that exceed EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL).
In early April, EPA representatives will be contacting the 24 homeowners, plus 28 additional residents known to be in the path of the plume, seeking approval to connect their properties to the city water line. The connection to the city water line will begin in late May.
While there, EPA representatives will be conducting community interviews, in order to gather data on the community’s information needs regarding the connection and how the community prefers to receive information during the Superfund process.
In 2006, EPA conducted sampling to determine whether elevated levels of arsenic and lead concentrations detected in several private residential wells may have come from a former landfill at the site. Thirty-one private wells were sampled, including the 24 wells in the Hillerage community south of the former landfill. Total arsenic was detected at concentrations above the MCL in 20 residential wells.
In August 2008, EPA conducted sampling to determine whether the former landfill was the source of the arsenic contamination. Sampling showed that the groundwater plume containing the arsenic contamination is migrating from the landfill into the Hillerage community.
In November 2011, an additional round of residential well sampling took place. A total of 33 wells were sampled, 16 of which had not been previously sampled. Sample analysis indicated that 23 of the wells sampled had arsenic levels above the MCL. Of the 16 wells sampled for the first time, 12 had arsenic levels above the MCL.
Arsenic is a semi-metal element. It is odorless and tasteless. Arsenic enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth, or from agricultural and industrial practices. Non-cancer effects can include thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness in hands and feet, partial paralysis and blindness. Arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, nasal passages, liver and prostate.
PROPOSED REMOVAL ACTION
EPA is proposing to connect the 52 residences to the City of Scottsbluff’s city water system. This is a one-time offer. By participating with EPA, residents must discontinue use of the residential well as a drinking water source. Wells can continue to be used to water yards. If approval is not received to connect to city water, an imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of the public may result from continued ingestion of the water from the private drinking water wells.ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
EPA has not scheduled a public availability meeting. One will be held if there is sufficient public interest or to clarify relevant issues. Requests for a public hearing must be made in writing to the EPA contact listed below. Individuals may write to the EPA contact below to join the mailing list. Joining the mailing list will allow an individual to receive any updated information directly throughout the removal action process.
If you have questions or want to receive more information, please contact:
Community Involvement Coordinator
U.S. EPA Region 7
Office of Public Affairs
901 N. 5th Street
Kansas City, KS 66101
Phone: 1-800-223-0425, ext. 7253