CTS of Asheville update: RiverLink meets with Health Shuler’s office about groundwater contamination

In 1999, neighbors living adjacent to former electroplating facility called CTS of Asheville discovered an oily substance in their drinking water. When the Environmental Protection Agency responded, they found levels of trichloroethylene, a toxic substance and suspected carcinogen, at 21,000 parts per billion: more than 4,000 times the safe standard for potable water.

Those neighbors have since switched to the city water supply, but the source — groundwater contamination that persists beneath the CTS site — has not been adequately addressed, according to some critics. A system designed to remove hazardous vapors from the soil was installed at the site in 2006, but contamination levels in the neighboring spring have measured higher in recent testing than previously detected.

“Despite being entered into the state’s superfund program in the early ‘90s, very little cleanup has been accomplished,” wrote Hartwell Carson, RiverLink’s French Broad Riverkeeper, in a Sept. 6 letter to Rep. Heath Shuler. “Minimal efforts are currently underway to begin addressing the problem, but after the plant closed 21 years ago and because of a significant public health risk, immediate efforts need to be put in place to understand where the chemical has spread and how much of the public is in danger.

“A visit to the site by Congressman Shuler would go a long way towards ratcheting up the pressure for a swift cleanup,” Carson’s letter hinted.

Shuler’s representative, District Director Bruce Peterson, met with Carson yesterday in response, and said he would follow up with the EPA. “He seemed to agree that it was a problem,” Carson commented. Peterson was not available for comment.

For more background on CTS of Asheville, see the recent Xpress article “Fail-Safe?

— Rebecca Bowe, contributing editor

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2 thoughts on “CTS of Asheville update: RiverLink meets with Health Shuler’s office about groundwater contamination

  1. lee

    How do we know that the chemical pollution has not leached into the city water system that supplies the surrounding residences. Has this ever been checked. For the high water prices we pay we should be assured that our drinking water is safe. Also how far has this pollution traveled and how deep into the surrounding areas, wells, springs, creeks and all areas…Just what kind of testing has been done. How would the people wanting to cap the price of the “FIX” like to have to drink the water that is supposed to be safe…

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