Background en español
In parts of Auburn and Algona, groundwater – the water that flows under the ground through the soil – is contaminated from a degreaser containing a chemical called trichloroethene (TCE; also called trichloroethylene) and its breakdown products. The chemicals most likely originated from the Boeing Auburn facility. The contaminated groundwater (called a plume) flows north and northwest away from the Boeing property into portions of southwest Auburn and northeast Algona.
To date, monitoring has shown that in places where people could come into contact with the contaminated groundwater (e.g., ditch water, shallow groundwater, creeks, air, soil) chemical levels have been consistently lower than levels that could pose a risk to human health. If at any point chemicals are found to be an immediate risk, Ecology will direct Boeing to implement interim actions to reduce that risk.
Three routes of potential exposure
Chemicals can enter the body three ways:
The ability of a chemical to enter your body is called exposure. To date, the environmental samples collected have demonstrated that human exposure to the chemicals released is very low.
What is being investigated?
A network of monitoring wells has been installed throughout the site to monitor the locations and concentrations of contaminants in the groundwater over time. The contamination is not near the public drinking water systems and is regularly monitored by the Department of Health.
Water samples are collected from ditches and yards to determine if the chemicals are present.
Indoor air and the air above surface water that contains contamination is tested to determine whether chemicals are passing from the groundwater to the air as vapor.
Ecology will oversee Boeing's investigation of the contamination and review and approve cleanup options and a cleanup plan. The investigation, study of cleanup options, and cleanup plan each result in a report that is subject to formal public review and comment.
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