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Groundwater treatment at Asheville’s CTS Superfund site to resume next week


By WLOS Staff

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    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — Next week, crews will be treating the groundwater at the CTS Superfund site on Mills Gap Road in Asheville.

Additional in-situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) treatment for groundwater at the site is scheduled to start the week of Aug. 14 is is expected to take about three weeks. ISCO treatment involves injecting potassium permanganate into the ground to oxidize and break down trichloroethylene (TCE) into harmless byproducts like carbon dioxide and water.

The primary ISCO event on the 1.9-acre treatment area was completed in March 2020. A total of 76 injection wells were installed to the top of bedrock, which ranged from 55 to 90 feet below the ground surface. Approximately 350,000 pounds of potassium permanganate were injected into the subsurface via 380 vertical intervals at the 76 injection wells during that primary event.

Every six months, the site is checked to see how much progress is being made toward the cleanup goal, which is a 95% reduction of TCE in groundwater. The effort is part of a five-year plan.

As of July 2023, the TCE in the ISCO treatment area has been reduced approximately 70%.

People living near the site said they would like independent confirmation of those numbers.

“For people who know, for people who did the work, for people who invested the amount of time that we did in this community, that went on for some of us for 16-17 years, there is no way that we would ever trust EPA Region Four without confirmation and sampling done by an independent contractor,” Tate McQueen, a member of the community advisory group, said.

The ISCO Remedial Design strategy anticipated that at least one additional treatment event would be required to achieve the 95% reduction in TCE concentration.

The treatment will occur at 12 existing injection wells, and a total of 40,000 pounds of potassium permanganate will be injected into the subsurface via 46 vertical intervals.

During the polishing event, the site will be an active construction site with workers and equipment entering and exiting. Please respect the safety boundaries and do not enter the site for any reason.

When the ISCO polishing event is finished, groundwater monitoring will continue every six months in the treatment area until the RAO is achieved. If a 95% TCE reduction is not achieved, additional treatment options might be necessary.

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