Enbridge Finds Chemicals In Residential Wells

Elevated levels of chemicals have been detected in water samples from residential wells near the site of Enbridge Energy’s million gallon oil spill in Calhoun County. Kalamazoo County health officials say that trace amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Enbridge is coordinating the sampling of potable water wells located within 200 feet of either side of Talmadge Creek, the Kalamazoo River and Morrow Lake as part of am EPA-approved Sampling and Analysis Plan. Kalamazoo County Health Officer Linda Vale Buzas said that the chemicals are not thought to be associated with the oil spill and do not exceed state drinking water standards. The VOCs are all compounds used in paint strippers and metal degreasers, she said, and Phthalates are commonly used in the manufacture of plastics including the PVC components in plumbing systems. Buzas said that the chemicals in the wells may predate the oil spill. “There’s quite a mix of things in groundwater in the county,” she said. “We recommend periodic testing. Most wells have a little bit of something in them.” A No-Contact Order for the Kalamazoo River is expected to remain in effect until next spring because of contamination from the oil spill. Kalamazoo County health officials have instructed people not to swim, wade, fish, or boat in the river. The oil that spilled here was Cold Lake crude, a heavy crude that is also known as tar sand oil. This type of oil is cooked out of asphalt-like deposits in Northern Alberta and must be diluted with lighter weight chemicals so that it can be pumped through pipelines. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has warned that the environmental safety of these chemicals has not been adequately studied. ((27 OCT 2010))










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