DNREC requests EPA assistance in resolving groundwater concerns in Newark area

Public information meeting set for Nov. 17 at UD’s Clayton Hall

DOVER – Following nearly two decades of successful efforts by the City of Newark, DNREC and the Division of Public Health Office of Drinking Water (DPH ODW) to maintain a safe drinking water supply for the city, DNREC is requesting federal assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in resolving groundwater concerns in the Newark area and determining the sources of contamination there.

State officials from DNREC and DPH ODW, along with representatives of the City of Newark, with support from the EPA, will hold a public informational meeting Thursday, Nov. 17 about the Newark South Groundwater Plume Site, which encompasses an area of southeast Newark along Route 72 between Interstate 95 and Route 4 (East Chestnut Hill Road) in New Castle County. The meeting will take place from 6 – 8 p.m. at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall Auditorium 125, located at 100 Hollowell Drive, Newark, DE 19716.

The City of Newark has six municipal wells located in the area where groundwater has been impacted by volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are organic compounds found in some industrial and commercial products that can cause adverse human health effects. Newark’s drinking water is treated by the city to remove VOCs from the water supply, enabling the water to continue meeting both federal and the more stringent state safe drinking water standards.

The source of the groundwater contamination has not been identified, despite numerous environmental investigations and remedial efforts by DNREC at sites of potential concern. DNREC subsequently has requested EPA’s assistance to help fully investigate the site and identify the sources of the VOCs contamination in the groundwater.

The public information meeting offers an opportunity for DNREC, DPH ODW, EPA and City of Newark representatives to discuss with the community, the upcoming investigation work by EPA on groundwater contamination in the area. The EPA will use Superfund authority and resources to determine if the site warrants further long-term investigation and cleanup. EPA’s investigations could result in the site’s being listed on the National Priorities List (NPL).

A brief presentation of the site’s history will be given by DNREC’s Site Investigation & Restoration Section while Newark officials will discuss the ongoing, successful treatment of the public water supply at the city’s South Well Field Treatment Plant, which ensures Newark’s drinking water meets all primary and secondary maximum contaminant levels specified by the Safe Drinking Water Act and DPH’s Office of Drinking Water. Representatives will be available after the presentation at information stations to answer questions.

For more information regarding the City of Newark’s South Well Field Treatment Plant and municipal water supply, please contact:

Tom Coleman, Director of Public Works and Water Resources, or
Mark Neimeister, Water Operations Superintendent
City of Newark

For more information regarding the public information session and the proposed investigations at the Newark South Groundwater Plume Site, please contact:

Timothy Ratsep, Administrator, or
Christina Wirtz, Outreach Ombudsman
DNREC Site Investigation and Restoration Section
Email: Timothy.Ratsep@delaware.gov or Christina.Wirtz@delaware.gov

Vol. 46, No. 395

Media Contact: Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902