groundwater contamination

Oregon family seeks to change hazardous waste statute

A family in Oregon is fighting a state statue that does not allow victims of groundwater or soil pollution to collect legal fees in the event that they win their case.

Steve and Debbie Mangold of Oregon City discovered in 2007 when they were considering selling their property that their home had unsafe levels of gasoline contamination in the soil and groundwater, the result of leaks in a neighbor's underground tanks of gasoline. The Mangolds removed 955 tons of contaminated soil and installed 20-foot wells to continually evaluate the groundwater quality. They filed a civil lawsuit against their neighbors, but settled in 2008 when they could no longer afford the legal fees. They hope to change the statute to not only cover costs of litigation, but also allow victims to seek compensation for contamination that has occurred more than a decade before.

“They have spent a huge amount of their financial resources to fight as hard as they can to get what is a reasonably fair result, at great risk to themselves,”  their attorney Brooks Foster told the Portland Tribune. “It’s something that few people in their position would have been able to do.”

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EPA to consider setting drinking water standard for perchlorate

Perchlorate , a chemical used in rocket fuel and other explosives, can cause potential health concerns for pregnant women, infants and children, but there is no maximum drinking water standard and no requirement to test for it. That's a problem in New Mexico, where perchlorate has been found in groundwater at Los Alamos National Laboratories, Sandia National Laboratories and White Sands Missile Range, writes Staci Matlock of The New Mexican. The chemical, which also occurs naturally, has been found near drinking wells as well. But the EPA doesn't regulate the chemical in drinking water. Now the agency is reconsidering whether to set a standard that would in turn require drinking water facilities to test for the chemical.

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Stimulus funds for leaking storage tanks

Utah will receive $1.9 million in federal stimulus money to clean up leaking underground storage tanks to prevent petroleum and other hazardous substances from contaminating soil and groundwater. The funds are part of $7.9 million being distributed for similar projects throughout Colorado, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming, according to the Associated Press.