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Tuesday, March 19, 2002
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Ohio survey, well testing to assess C8 in water

From staff reports

State and local health officials will join DuPont in conducting a door-to-door ground water use survey and testing private wells in Little Hocking and Porterfield this week to determine the extent and concentration of C8 in Ohio.

Scheduled to begin tomorrow, the water sampling will take place on the Ohio side of the river within a mile radius of DuPont's Washington Works Plant in West Virginia.

"There's probably 30 to 40 private wells right around our well field," said Bob Griffin, general manager of the Little Hocking Water Association.

Griffin said the water association is taking a wait-and-see attitude and has yet to issue any advisories about the drinking water.

The door-to-door survey and testing will include a series of questions for homeowners as well as a request from officials to sample a water well if present.

Last week, DuPont and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection decided to expand the testing to a two-mile radius around the plant after tests showed the chemical present in private wells and cisterns near the plant. The chemical originates from the DuPont plant and is used in its processes.

A total of 162 private wells and cisterns in West Virginia already have been tested for the chemical. The wells and landfills tested all were within a one-mile radius of the plant. Many of the results showed small traces of the chemical, while two had levels high enough to be of concern.

The chemical also has been detected in the public water supplies of Belpre, Little Hocking, Tuppers Plains and Parkersburg and Lubeck, W.Va. Testing started after residents of Lubeck filed a suit against DuPont, saying the chemical was harmful to their health. DuPont has denied the chemical is harmful to humans.

State environmental officials also have extended the testing of public water systems down river to the Pomeroy area. The Ohio River will also be tested.

"We're watching it, but there's nothing to panic about," said Ken Robinson, with the Washington County Health Department.

Also last week, the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced that DuPont would have to replace the water supply of any source found to have C8 at levels of 14 parts per billion or higher. So far, levels have not been detected that high.


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