Federal investigators look into Grand Prairie's contaminated groundwater

grand prairie (CBSNewsTexas.com) - In 2018 the Environmental Protection Agency added the Delfasco Forge site in Grand Prairie to a national list of superfund sites, places with hazardous wastes that need to be cleaned up. On Thursday night the EPA updated the community about what they're doing to clean up the site.  

For decades homeowner George Craig has known about the toxic chemicals that are in the groundwater below his home.

"It's very concerning but like I said we don't necessarily drink it, we buy the water," said Craig.

All homes in the area use city water which is safe to drink. Craig has avoided using his well water since he moved in 20 years ago. 

"The water you couldn't service or use it even for watering the grass they said," said Craig.

The source of the contamination was the Delfasco Forge facility which manufactured munitions on NE 28th Street in the 80s and 90s. 

The EPA says the de-greaser they used in the manufacturing process spilled onto the ground contaminating the groundwater under about 80 to 90 homes in this residential area. The agency says the groundwater is contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical known as TCE.

"That's the main concern what's leaching up from the soil, [that] we may be breathing," said Craig. "Because in the evenings especially, you notice a strange smell sometimes out here." 

On Thursday night the EPA held a meeting to share what they're doing to clean up the site.  

"We're going to be injecting plume stops, so that's an activated carbon it looks like a black liquid. So, that binds to the TCE in the groundwater and treats it," said Hope Schroeder, the remedial project manager for EPA Region 6.

The EPA is most concerned about the vapors from that harmful chemical, TCE, that could be inside people's homes. 

"There's cracks in foundations or holes around pipes and so those vapors get caught in the building and then you can breathe them in and that can cause some health effects," said Schroeder. "All of the homes that are over the shallow groundwater plume are offered vapor mitigation systems to their homes from the EPA and those are at no cost to the resident and they can also sign up for sampling."

They're also working to clean up the source of the contamination through a process called Soil Vapor Extraction.

"That works like a big vacuum in the ground," said Schroeder. "It will suck with pressure all of those vapors out that works like a big vacuum in the ground we put a well in there and it will suck with pressure all of those vapors out."

But homeowners complain that the cleanup process is taking too long. 

"Over the years, the few things we've heard I don't know what to do or who to contact who to complain to," said Craig. "We're low-income people here, we're stuck here and, yeah, if I had enough money I'd move away."

"I do hear those frustrations and I understand but it is a process that we have to go through and superfund sites do take time to clean up," said Schroeder. "It is important to treat the source area first, it's kind of like cutting off the head of the snake."

The EPA says it could take up to a year to create the design for the source area treatment.

If your home has been impacted by the Delfasco Forge Superfund site and you would like to reach out to the EPA you can contact Hope Schroeder, the remedial project manager for EPA Region 6 at 214-665-7142. 

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