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Current Progress

VA is currently developing and implementing Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS). This is the third major step of Superfund cleanup, following the Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection that was conducted in 2011, and the National Priority List site listing process which was final in 2013. Read more about the Superfund process by clicking HERE.

The RI/FS phase of the process determines the nature and extent of contamination at the site, tests whether certain technologies are capable of treating the contamination, and evaluates the cost and performance of technologies that could be used to clean up the site. In coordination with the EPA and Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), VA began remedial investigation activities in 2013, starting with properties in the East Side Springs area. This includes properties roughly described as being near the intersection of 900 South and 1200 East, where groundwater seeps or springs are commonplace and there is shallow depth to groundwater. The investigation in this area is accelerated to address the possibility of vapor intrusion into structures and is planned in two phases.

Phase 1: Indoor Air, Outdoor Air, and Soil Gas Sampling conducted January through May, 2015.

The first phase of the field work at East Side Springs was conducted January-April of 2015 and included sampling indoor air, outdoor air, and near-slab soil gas sampling (checking for vapors near building foundations) at 36 properties. Samples were analyzed for PCE as well as other constituents.

None of the samples were above the removal action level established. Indoor air PCE samples ranged from 0.10-2.94 ppbv (parts per billion by volume). Comparatively, data collected by the EPA shows that samples taken throughout the U.S. in areas not located next to a PCE source have an average background indoor air PCE concentration of 3.01 ppbv.

Click on the image above for a larger view.

Although no results exceeded the removal action level, they do confirm contamination and help define areas most impacted. The table below shows the number of samples taken January-April 2015 and some data points. These data come from sample results at or above 0.1 ppbv (parts per billion by volume). Anything below this quantification level cannot be considered with confidence.

Sample Type No. of Samples No. at or above Quantification Level Range of Results Removal Action Level No. Above Removal Action Level
Indoor Air PCE Samples 479 200 0.10-2.94ppbv* 5.97ppbv 0
Near-Slab Soil Gas PCE Samples 69 37 0.10-63.57ppbv N/A N/A

Field results can vary from validated data, but are accurate enough to inform next-step decisions.

* Calculation excludes 4 samples taken from non-habitable spaces; 2 were from inside closed sump pits (2.99ppbv and 19.53ppbv), 1 was in a crawl space (3.83ppbv), and 1 was from cracks in a foundation (13.02ppbv).

The graph below shows the PCE results in relation to other points of interest. Click HERE to learn more about the screening level and removal action level.

Click on the image above for a larger view.

Phase 2: Additional Indoor Air, Outdoor Air, and Soil Gas Sampling, and Groundwater, Surface Water, and Soil Sampling conducted February through September 2016.

Phase 2 field work for AOU1 started in February 2016. VA conducted indoor air, outdoor air, and soil gas sampling of seven additional structures. Indoor air was resampled in six of these structures. An additional four homes were sampled in May 2016. Six homes from the 2015 sampling event were also resampled during this time.

Out of the new structures sampled, there were detections of PCE above the removal action level (5.97 ppbv). VA is currently in the process of working with the property owner in developing a removal action at this location.

During this same time, VA and its contractors monitored groundwater at 50 temporary locations. A push rig or hand auger was used to reach groundwater at 42 locations. In two locations, groundwater was encountered, but water did not recharge. Another six locations were drilled to a depth of at least 40 feet, but did not reach groundwater.

Groundwater samples were collected from the 42 temporary locations. They were sent to a lab to be analyzed for PCE and other constituents. The depth to groundwater was anywhere between 1 foot to 37 feet. VA contractors backfilled 32 of these locations using bentonite chips.

The remaining 10 locations are still in place to serve as temporary monitoring locations. Additional samples were taken from these locations at the end of April, the beginning of July, and the middle of September 2016. The 10 locations and samples from them will not only help provide additional data about the nature and extent of contamination of groundwater in the area, but will also show seasonality of the groundwater levels.

In May 2016, VA’s contractors collected 50 surface water and storm water samples throughout the East Side Springs area. The sampling locations were as far north as 700 South and as far south as Red Butte Creek (1200 South), and as far east as 1350 East and as far west as Rowland Hall Lincoln Street Campus (1050 East). During the collection of the surface water, the contractors conducted an ecological screening of each location to determine any observable environmental impacts. At three locations, soil samples were also collected. All surface water and soil samples were sent to the lab for analysis.

All the data from indoor air, outdoor air, soil gas, groundwater, surface water, and soil samples will help VA determine the nature and extent of PCE contamination and the risk to human health and the environment for vapor intrusion in AOU-1.

What's Next?

VA will take the data gathered during the Remedial Investigation, write a Remedial Investigation Report, which will evaluate the potential risk to human health and environment from the contaminated groundwater, and then write the Focused Feasibility Study (FFS) for AOU1.

The FFS identifies and screens cleanup technologies and alternatives. Some cleanup decisions can include monitored natural attenuation or monitoring stabilization of groundwater concentrations, as part of an overall clean up evaluation. The FFS for AOU1 will focus only on the potential of vapor intrusion into East Side Springs structures.

Based on the FFS, VA will develop a Proposed Plan for the site. The Proposed Plan will inform the public on the preferred cleanup option. VA will issue a public notice through the local media to notify the community, so interested members of the community can comment on the Proposed Plan. In addition, VA will hold a public meeting to discuss the Proposed Plan. VA will develop a Responsiveness Summary to formally respond to public comments received. If, based on public comments, the Proposed Plan is substantially changed, VA will issue an explanation of the changes made and invite public comment on the changes.