Following nearly two decades of successful efforts by the City of Newark, DNREC and the Division of Public Health Office of Drinking Water (DPH ODW) to maintain a safe drinking water supply for the city, DNREC is requesting federal assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in resolving groundwater concerns in the Newark area and determining the sources of contamination there. The Newark South Groundwater Plume Site encompasses an area of southeast Newark along Route 72 between Interstate 95 and Route 4 (East Chestnut Hill Road) in New Castle County.
The City of Newark has six municipal wells located in the area where groundwater has been impacted by volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are organic compounds found in some industrial and commercial products that can cause adverse human health effects. Newark’s drinking water is treated by the city to remove VOCs from the water supply, enabling the water to continue meeting both federal and the more stringent state safe drinking water standards. The source of the groundwater contamination has not been identified, despite numerous environmental investigations and remedial efforts by DNREC at sites of potential concern. DNREC subsequently has requested EPA’s assistance to help fully investigate the site and identify the sources of the VOCs contamination in the groundwater.
The EPA will use Superfund authority and resources to determine if the site warrants further long-term investigation. EPA’s investigations could result in the site’s being listed on the National Priorities List (NPL). As part of the listing process, potentially responsible parties that contributed to the contamination in the groundwater would also be identified to pay for the investigations and cleanup. In the interim, EPA will evaluate the potential for vapor intrusion at the site.
State officials from DNREC and DPH ODW, along with representatives of the City of Newark, with support from the EPA, held a public information meeting on Nov. 17. The public information meeting offered an opportunity for DNREC, DPH ODW, EPA and City of Newark representatives to discuss with the community, the upcoming investigation work by EPA on groundwater contamination in the area. A brief presentation on the site was given by DNREC’s Site Investigation & Restoration Section, while Newark officials discussed the ongoing, successful treatment of the public water supply at the city’s South Well Field Treatment Plant, which ensures Newark’s drinking water meets all primary and secondary maximum contaminant levels specified by the Safe Drinking Water Act and DPH’s Office of Drinking Water. DNREC's presentation and handouts from the meeting, as well as additional related information, are available below:
New! Update on EPA's Environmental Sampling
In January/February 2017, EPA conducted environmental sampling of groundwater in the Newark area in an effort to better understand the extent of groundwater contamination. The environmental sampling was done as a precautionary first step to rule out any potential for vapor intrusion from the contaminated groundwater. Vapor intrusion is a process that occurs when organic vapors from contaminated groundwater or soil move upwards through the ground into buildings. As part of the investigation, EPA installed and sampled nine (9) new groundwater monitoring wells in the Scottfield and Brookside Park residential developments east of South Chapel Street (Rte. 72). EPA also sampled a monitoring well, previously installed by DNREC, in the commercial area west of Rte. 72.
The results of the groundwater sampling indicate that vapor intrusion is not a concern at this time. Laboratory analysis of the water samples found low level detections of volatile organic compounds. The reported chemicals were generally found at trace levels. The concentrations in the groundwater samples were below EPA’s screening levels and as such, are not a concern for vapor intrusion. Based on the recent groundwater sampling results, EPA does not plan to conduct in-home vapor intrusion testing at this time. However, EPA plans to resample the new wells later this year, along with wells previously installed by DNREC in nearby commercial areas, to confirm the results and evaluate any possible change in the subsurface conditions.
As previously noted, homes in the Scottfield and Brookside Park developments do not rely on private drinking water supply wells. These communities receive their drinking water from SUEZ Delaware Water (formerly United Delaware Water). The water provided by SUEZ draws surface water from the White Clay & Red Clay Creeks and is not affected by the local groundwater contamination. The drinking water supplied by SUEZ meets Federal and State Drinking Water Standards. The public drinking water supplied to the area by City of Newark has long been treated to remove contaminants and the drinking water continues to meet Federal and State Drinking Water standards, as shared annually in its water quality reports. More information about the environmental sampling effort can be found at:
For more information regarding previous investigations at the Newark South Groundwater Plume Site and nearby sites , please visit DNREC's Delaware Environmental Navigator (DEN) site at: http://www.nav.dnrec.delaware.gov/DEN3/ for the following sites:
- DE-0342: Newark South Well Field (includes DNREC's Preliminary Assessment and Site Investigation)
- DE-0173: Syntech
- DE-0248: AMP
- DE-1032: Process Indust.
- DE-0295: Lilly Fasteners
- DE-0322: Chrome Deposit
- DE-1551: Pencader Dry Cleaner
- DE-1343: Treatment Plant
- DE-1512: Permaflex Rollers
For additional information or questions regarding DNREC's investigations, please contact:
For more information regarding the City of Newark’s drinking water supply and treatment system, please visit: http://www.cityofnewarkde.us/water , or contact:
Kelly Bachman, Communications Manager, City of Newark, at 302-366-7035 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Public Works and Water Resources, or Mark Neimeister,
Water Operations Superintendent, City of Newark, at 302-366-7000, or www.cityofnewarkde.us
For more information regarding the EPA's Superfund Program, please contact:
Gina Soscia, Community Involvement Coordinator, EPA Region 3 at: 215-814-5538, or by email at: Soscia.email@example.com
For media inquiries:
Roy Seneca, Office of Communications and Government Relations, U.S. EPA, Region 3 at: 215-814-5567, or by email at: Seneca.firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the contaminants of concern in the area, primarily tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and to a lesser extent, trichloroethylene (TCE), please visit:
Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs for PCE