Map Of Toxic Plume Near Downtown Albuquerque

  • Rashad Mahmood
  •  Thursday, September 24, 2015

When state environment workers were taking groundwater samples in downtown Albuquerque back in the 1990s, they discovered a large plume of a solvent called trichloroethylene, or TCE—a toxic chemical that causes cancer and birth defects—just 35 feet below the ground.

The Environment Department eventually traced the source of the TCE plume to an old industrial brick building near downtown Albuquerque owned by Laun-Dry Supply Company, a business that distributes dry cleaning chemicals. Over time, those chemicals seeped into the ground and spread through the shallow groundwater at least a mile and a half east under Creamland Dairies and other businesses, under a fire station, into a couple of cemeteries, and maybe even under people’s homes. Read the full story for more information.

The map below shows the most recent test results for TCE and perchloroethylene or PCE at wells near the Laun-Dry site. Although this contamination has been there for decades, as recently as January 2015, levels at one well near the Laun-Dry site were 1,600 parts per billion, or 16 times the state groundwater standards. Older readings were significantly higher. The water flows to the Northeast, and the northern, southern, and eastern boundaries of the plume are not well known.

The platform for this map was provided by the New Mexico Community Data Collaborative.

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