State and local officials investigate contaminated Carthage groundwater

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State workers are investigating polluted groundwater in the Carthage area.

“This contaminant is known in metal cleaning, it’s known to be a cleaner in metal cleaning and dry cleaning,” explained Chuck Bryant with Carthage Water & Electric.

And now, a Carthage aquifer is testing with high levels of PCE. The chemical is affecting the raw water, prompting Carthage Water & Electric to shut down the affected well.

But it is not an issue for customers of the city utility.

“It exceeds all drinking water quality standards,” Bryant added. “All of our customers are safe.”

But, that may not be the case for others on private wells. So, the state Department of Natural Resources is sending out a letter to those using well water within about a mile of Central and River Street.

It says in part that “As part of the investigation, the Department is sampling private drinking-water and industrial groundwater wells in the area.”

“That outlines what some of the issues are. what they’ve found, and then what steps they want to take with those residents to determine if there’s an issue on their property,” Bryant continued.

It’s estimated that could include 70 to 80 wells in the area. DNR is investigating the exact location of the PCE contamination among other issues.

“The state’s investigation revolves around making sure they can determine maybe a cause or a source of this and then take some remediation steps from that point forward,” said Bryant.

Letters from DNR went out last week, so property owners should be getting those in the new few days. DNR is the lead agency on this and expects to use federal help in dealing with the issue.

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