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DEP Seeks Source of Queens Contamination

Ian P. Murphy |

NEW YORK — After discovering elevated levels of perchloroethylene in New York City’s drinking water, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is targeting drycleaning plants and auto body shops as the likely sources.
Routine water sampling in the Saint Albans, Cambria Heights and Hollis neighborhoods of Queens detected perc levels higher than the U.S. EPA’s maximum of 5 parts per billion (ppb) last week. The city warned residents that perc levels shouldn't endanger health, but those worried about the contamination should drink bottled water.
The DEP has launched an intensive campaign to trace the contamination, already inspecting more than 300 area businesses. In addition, the DEP and city water department are flushing hydrants in order to draw the contamination out of the water supply.
Average levels of perc detected in the area are dropping, and now stand at 3.7 ppb. Of the 74 samples taken since the original discovery of the contamination, 24 detected no perc, 19 detected perc levels below 5 ppb, and 20 detected perc above 5 ppb. Testing in other areas of the city showed no contamination.

About the author

Ian P. Murphy

American Drycleaner

Ian P. Murphy is a freelance writer based in Chicago, and was the editor of American Drycleaner from 1999 to 2011.

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