UPDATE: Leitchfield residents concerned about possible groundwater contamination; the EPA responds to those concerns

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LEITCHFIELD, Ky. (WBKO) - We have a follow-up to a story we first brought you on Monday, as the Environmental Protection Agency issued a response to our questions about possible groundwater contamination in parts of Leitchfield.

The EPA says samples taken in October of 2016 showed no immediate threat to the resident's health from crawl space air or indoor air from the homes. The most recent sampling took place on June 12th, 20-17, just a few weeks ago. The EPA says it may take up to two months to get those test results back.

The samples were also analyzed for groundwater contamination and the EPA says the volatile organic chemicals are present in the water of drainage ditches, but are in the acceptable range and pose no imminent health threat.

Also, the EPA says the drinking water source for the city is more than eight miles away and there is no direct contact with the contaminated groundwater, so tap water from the public water supply is safe for drinking, brushing teeth, and showering.

Here's a look at the entire list of questions we submitted and answers from the EPA:

1. What is going on regarding possible groundwater contamination in Grayson County?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently focused solely on the groundwater contamination in the immediate area of the Campbell Hausfeld facility in Leitchfield, Kentucky. The Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection (KDEP) is investigating groundwater contamination issues from a facility adjacent to Campbell Hausfeld, the former Bosch Tool facility.

2. How did the EPA first find out about this?
Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) authority, the EPA has been overseeing investigations and remediation at the Campbell Hausfeld facility since the early 1990s. Past waste management practices contaminated the groundwater below the facility with volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). This groundwater contamination has been the focus of previous investigations to determine the extent of contamination on the property.

3. How long has this been going on, and is it an ongoing issue?
See #2 above.

4. What areas are affected?
See response #2 above.

5. Do we have a possible cause for this?
See response #2 above.

6. How have community members been informed?
EPA sent out an invitational flyer to attend an information session to approximately 200 residents in the vicinity of the Campbell Hausfeld facility in October 2016. EPA then conducted its first information session for local citizens on November 3, 2016 on the topic of environmental investigations for the Campbell Hausfeld facility. The meeting was hosted by EPA and the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection (KDEP). EPA has informed individual homeowners of sampling results and for the purpose of getting approval to access their property. EPA community engagement staff have responded to inquiries from citizens in the area since the 2016 meeting. EPA plans to continue informing the community through updated fact sheets and local meetings to help explain developments when the most recent sampling data is received. EPA is committed to meaningful community involvement.

7. What has the EPA done so far regarding the issue? What are future plans?
EPA is working with the facility to address the contamination present in the ditch water. The EPA has required Campbell Hausfeld to implement additional measures to improve the performance of the hydraulic containment system and to reduce or eliminate potential exposure to surface water in drainage ditches on both sides of Floyd Street. An additional round of ditch water sampling was conducted during the week of June 12, 2017, and results are expected within 2 months. Letters containing the sample results will be sent to the appropriate homeowners.

8. What should community members do in the meantime?
As a precaution, homeowners who reside along Floyd Street have been advised to avoid routine or prolonged exposure to the water in the ditches from 1310 Floyd Street to Embry Drive. See the response to question 9 for more details.

9. What kinds of testing has been going on and what have been the results so far?
Various media (including outdoor air, indoor air, crawl space air, surface water, sediment, sump water) have been sampled as a part of the ongoing investigation at the Campbell Hausfeld Facility. Several rounds of vapor intrusion sampling have been conducted by the facility’s consultants. Vapor intrusion sampling was necessary to evaluate whether contamination may be entering the homes in the form of a vapor from the contaminated groundwater (primarily the solvent 1,1-Dichloroethene) beneath the home. Outdoor air, crawl space air, and indoor air samples have been collected from four homes located on Floyd Street for site related groundwater contaminants. The most recent sampling results (October 2016) indicate that there is no immediate threat to the resident’s health from exposure to either the crawl space air or indoor air from the four homes. Individual results letters that provide details have been sent to the respective homeowner. An additional round of vapor intrusion sampling was conducted during May 9 and 10, 2017. Results letters will be sent to the respective homeowners.

Surface water from drainage ditches, sediment samples, and sump water from four corresponding homes on Floyd Street were collected by EPA in January 2017. The samples collected were analyzed for site related groundwater contaminants in order to determine whether contaminated groundwater was surfacing into the ditches. Sampling results indicated that VOCs are present in the surface water of the drainage ditches within EPA’s acceptable health risk range where it currently poses no imminent health threat. As a precaution, homeowners who reside along Floyd Street have been advised to avoid routine or prolonged exposure to the water in the ditches from 1310 Floyd Street to Embry Drive.

10. Is this affecting things like brushing your teeth and showering?
No, the local neighborhood adjacent to Campbell Hausfeld is on public water supply. According to the City of Leitchfield, the local drinking water source is Rough River Lake, which is greater than 8 miles away. There is no exposure route for direct contact with the contaminated groundwater through everyday life activities such as drinking, brushing teeth, or showering.

11. Was Brian Holtzclaw at the town meeting?
As an EPA Community Engagement Coordinator, Brian Holtzclaw was present at the information session held on November 3, 2016.

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