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Leon Valley pollution could warrant State Superfund designation

A plume of contaminated groundwater under Leon Valley could be designated a State Superfund site, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality officials said April 20.

Kurtis Tatsch runs water from his home's private well recently as his wife Laura looks on. After contamination was found in a Leon Valley well, Tatsch has been trying to convince environmental officials to test his well. (Photo by Mark Greenberg)

Wesley Newberry, team leader for the State Superfund Site Discovery and Assessment Team, said the state would assign a hazardous ranking to the plume of perchloroethylene, which includes an area near Poss and Bandera roads and along Grissom Road. The hazardous ranking is based on the type and extent of the contamination. Also known as PCE, perchloroethylene is used in dry-cleaning solvents and degreasers. The Environmental Protection Agency has determined PCE is a probable cancer-causing chemical, while high concentrations of PCE can cause dizziness, headache, confusion, nausea, unconsciousness, and death.

Several private wells in Leon Valley have been fitted with carbon filters to prevent residents from drinking contaminated water.

The Current received the information after press deadline for the April 21 issue; look for more in-depth coverage about this issue in the print edition next week.

To see the Current's previous stories about Leon Valley contamination, click on the following links:

"Deep thoughts," May 27-June 2, 2004

"Leon Valley contamination still a mystery," June 3-9, 2004

"More questions, no answers," November 18-24, 2004

By Lisa Sorg

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