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DOE on Algona groundwater sampling: public drinking water sources unaffected

Workers and equipment are visiting parts of Algona to prepare to collect underground water samples as part of a continuing investigation into an area of contaminated ground water that originates on property owned by The Boeing Co. in Auburn. - Courtesy photo
Workers and equipment are visiting parts of Algona to prepare to collect underground water samples as part of a continuing investigation into an area of contaminated ground water that originates on property owned by The Boeing Co. in Auburn.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Staff reports

Groundwater data collected to date in Algona as part of an underground water sampling project show that contamination from a chemical that escaped from the Boeing Company in Auburn years ago has not yet affected public drinking water sources.

That, according to the Washington Department of Ecology, which posted the first set of preliminary results from the project online Thursday.

In the meantime, the investigation continues into the area of contaminated groundwater that originates about a mile away on Boeing property.

The newly available results cover the first five of the project's 49 underground water sample sites, collected between April 3 and April 5, as follows:

• 11th Avenue North and Chicago Avenue
• Boundary Boulevard, mid-block between Celery and Chicago avenues
• 11th Avenue North, mid-block between Algona Boulevard and Celery Avenue
• 11th Avenue North, mid-block between Celery and Chicago avenues
• 10th Avenue North and Celery Avenue.

The DOE will continue to post the results as data become available.

While the DOE is directing the investigation, Boeing has hired a contractor to do the actual work and is paying for the study.

The study is one step toward determining the location and size of the underground contamination, which includes solvent chemicals, primarily trichloroethene (TCE) and vinyl chloride (VC).

Ecology has begun to evaluate the study results, in cooperation with the Washington Department of Health.

Larry Altose, a spokesman for the DOE, said it is too early in the process to draw conclusions from the limited, preliminary data available to date.

Information from the study, Altose added in a press release, will help to plan the cleanup of the groundwater contamination, to decide on the next steps to take the investigation and to provide information the state nust have to assess potential health risks.

Boeing expects its contractor to complete the sample collection work by April 30, 2013, two days earlier than it had originally planned. The groundwater samples undergo laboratory testing to detect the presence and concentrations of specific solvent-related chemicals.

When the fieldwork is done later this spring, Boeing will submit an assessment of the sampling data to the DOE.

Ecology maintains updated information on the investigation at: fortress.wa.gov/ecy.

People with questions or comments about the investigation may contact Ecology at boeingauburnsite@ecy.wa.gov.

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