More than six years after being discovered, a contaminated groundwater plume in Willow Park and Parker County was added to the federal Superfund list Friday, a program that investigates and cleans up major complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites across the U.S.
The affected area is east of the Parker County Airport and sits at a juncture where the City of Willow Park, the City of Hudson Oaks and Parker County meet. Most residences in the area are supplied drinking water through the municipalities, though some private wells are located in the affected area, according to EPA documents.
A total of seven wells tested positive for trichloroethene (TCE) in 2010, including three wells used for drinking water with TCE concentrations exceeding the maximum contaminant level of 5 micrograms per liter for drinking water.
The contamination of the Paluxy aquifer layer is believed to stretch about a half mile along Russell Road, though the full extent and nature of the contamination has not been identified, according to information from the EPA.
The federal government will work to investigate and identify the responsible parties to address the issue. If no responsible parties are located, inclusion on the national list allows federal money to be spent to clean up the area.
“Adding these sites to the National Priorities List is an important step in ensuring public health and the environment will be protected,” EPA Acting Regional Administrator Sam Coleman said in a statement. “Cleaning up hazardous waste in our communities and returning properties to environmental and economic vitality are EPA priorities.”
The problem was first discovered in March 2006 during routine monitoring of one of Willow Park’s wells off of Circle Court when the level was found to be above the EPA’s maximum contaminant level. The well was taken offline between April and June 2006, when Willow Park installed a charcoal filter on the well to ensure safe drinking water and put it back into service with quarterly testing.