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West Virginia Dry Cleaners Site Added to EPA Hazardous Site List

Release Date: 10/21/1999
Contact Information: Ruth Podems, (215) 814-5540

Ruth Podems, (215) 814-5540

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will add the Vienna Tetrachloroethene site near Parkersburg, W.Va. to the Superfund National Priorities List of most hazardous waste sites tomorrow. Nationwide, EPA is adding 10 sites and proposing to add nine sites to the list.

The NPL is the list of the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites that are eligible for cleanup by the EPA. The Superfund trust fund was established in 1980 to finance hazardous waste cleanups with taxes generated from chemical and waste producing industries.

The Vienna Tetrachloroethene site is located in a commercial and residential area of downtown Vienna, a suburb of Parkersburg, W.Va. Soils and groundwater in the area are contaminated with the dry cleaning solvent tetrachloroethene, better known as PCE, a suspected carcinogen. This contamination resulted from past disposal practices and spills at the Vienna Cleaners facility located about one block northwest of the Vienna City Hall. A second source of PCE contamination appears to be the Busy Bee Cleaners facility located about three blocks southwest of Vienna Cleaners.

Six of Vienna’s 12 municipal wells were shut down in 1992 because of PCE contamination. EPA subsequently spent emergency funds to construct two new wells. The NPL listing will help ensure that the municipal water systems which serve approximately 55,000 people in Vienna and Parkersburg will not become contaminated by PCE moving through the groundwater in the future.

The Vienna site was proposed to the NPL in April 1999. During the subsequent 60-day public comment period, one party contested EPA’s inclusion of the Busy Bee property in the proposal. EPA then determined that this property was properly included as a potential source of PCE contamination which should be investigated as part of the NPL site.

With the addition of the Vienna site to the NPL, EPA will now conduct a more extensive investigation to determine the full nature and extent of the contamination. EPA will then develop a plan to address whatever risks the site poses to human health and the environment.