More wells next in Algona groundwater investigation

For the Reporter

Work crews will use heavy equipment to install long-term monitoring wells and collect additional underground water samples in Algona next month.

The work is part of a continuing investigation into an area of contaminated groundwater that originates on property in Auburn owned by The Boeing Co.

Contractors expect to begin in the second week of June, and the work will continue for an estimated seven weeks.

The Washington Department of Ecology oversees the investigation – conducted and paid for by Boeing – into past releases of liquid solvents at the company's facility. Investigators are seeking to confirm the location and determine the potential impacts of groundwater contamination, primarily trichloroethene (TCE) and other chemicals such as vinyl chloride (VC), which form when TCE breaks down.

Work locations and hours

Truck-mounted drill rigs will be used to install 12 monitoring wells on public rights of way. Crews will place 10 wells on 9th, 10th, and 11th Avenues North, between State Route 167 and the Chicago Avenue drainage ditch. One well will be installed in the Junction neighborhood, and another in the commercial district along Milwaukee Avenue.

Also in June, Boeing contractors will use smaller probes to collect one-time underground water samples in a study to determine whether the contaminated area extends under eastern Algona. Workers will use truck-mounted machinery to make 14 borings - nine along the Interurban Trail and five along Milwaukee Avenue.

Contractors for Boeing will conduct all work between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. Workers will not block driveways, but temporary lane and parking space closures will occur.

Project planning and operations are taking place in cooperation with the city of Algona.

Data needed to plan cleanup

Information from the studies will help in planning the cleanup of the groundwater contamination, and help inform affected communities. The data also will help determine the need for additional sampling. The long-term monitoring wells will become part of a network of more than 100 wells installed since 2009 to locate and evaluate the contamination beyond the Boeing Auburn Plant. Sampling and monitoring will continue in Auburn and Algona as part of the ongoing study.

In other recent developments:

Surface water from private yards and city drainage ditches, sampled during the 2014 winter high-groundwater season, contained either no detectable contamination or concentrations below levels expected to cause health effects.

Indoor air from private homes sampled last summer and fall contained either no detectable contamination or concentrations below levels expected to cause health effects. Ecology also has determined that indoor air sampled this past winter produced similar results. Ecology will post final results from the winter 2014 phase of the study later this summer.

Groundwater data collected to date show that this contamination does not affect public drinking water sources, officials said.

Ecology maintains a local phone line, 253-219-7645, for people to call with questions or concerns about the Boeing Auburn site investigation.


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