Big, Toxic And Still Not Cleaned Up

  •  Ed Williams
  •  Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Monitoring well readings taken in the Laun-Dry plume investigation. Some wells have measured chemical solvents orders of magnitude higher than state standards. The size of the bubbles on the map correspond to the amount of contamination measured. RASHAD MAHMOOD-PUBLIC HEALTH NEW MEXICO

Monitoring well readings taken in the Laun-Dry plume investigation. Some wells have measured chemical solvents orders of magnitude higher than state standards. The size of the bubbles on the map correspond to the amount of contamination measured.
RASHAD MAHMOOD-PUBLIC HEALTH NEW MEXICO

A plume of toxic dry cleaning chemicals has been moving through Albuquerque’s groundwater for at least two decades. At 35 feet deep and at least a mile and a half long, it’s closer to the surface and possibly covers more distance than the Kirtland Air Force Base jet fuel spill. And the chemicals in the groundwater, called TCE and PCE, cause cancer, birth defects and neurological problems.

Experts say the Laun-Dry plume is shallow enough to evaporate and come to the surface as gas. That could pose health risks to people living and working in the area. But the cleanup process has stalled out over the last ten years, and even though state and federal guidelines call for it, no health assessment or comprehensive air testing has been carried out.

KUNM’s All Things Considered host Chris Boros sat down with reporter Ed Williams, who broke the story, to talk about the plume and the concerns it raises for public health.

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