Groundwater Contamination Found In Salisbury Community - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Groundwater Contamination Found In Salisbury Community

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SALISBURY, Md. – About two weeks ago, the Wicomico County Health Department received a phone call from a resident who had their well water tested with results that came back positive for a volatile compound way above the maximum contaminant level.

It's called 1, 2 Dichloropropane - a colorless, flammable liquid that's turned up in Salisbury's Doe Run Community. It's been used as a furniture stripper and a pesticide up until the late 1990's.   

But Glenn Sheridan and his family don't seem to be too worried.

"We haven't changed our habits at all, as far as our drinking habits or bathing or anything like that. I don't like the fact that the water may be bad, because it tastes good," he said.

19 of 33 properties in the development have been tested over the past two weeks and six have come back positive. Officials say there may be some minor health risks involved if the chemical is inhaled or makes contact with the skin, but the EPA's website indicates an increased risk of getting cancer if ingested.

"It would have to be a high dose over a long period of time to cause health effects," health officer Lorie Brewster said.  

Just last fall, 70 homes in the Morris Mill community in Fruitland were contaminated with TCE. But officials say that incident has absolutely no link to the contamination at Doe Run. Though Glenn isn't taking desperate measures yet, he may consider changes as more information trickles in.

"Maybe we'll tap into city water at some junction. This may push us to do that - having the city come in or the county come in and hook us up depending on how bad the contamination is," he said.

There are 14 homes in the community that still haven't been tested. The Wicomico County Health Department and the Maryland Department of the Environment tell WMDT they are working to collect those samples. But they say this investigation is in the beginning stages, and it will take time to figure out the source of the contamination.  

Affected residents have been notified, and given a supply of bottled water until officials come up with a long term solution. Any questions can be directed to the Wicomico County Health Department at 410-546-4446.

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