The 0.83-acre parcel at 3818 Washington Road was first used as a dry cleaning business in 1969 and remains in use today as a Silverstein’s Cleaners, owned by EDSPEN, LLC., which purchased the site in 1998.
A field investigation of the area in 2010 confirmed contamination in soil and groundwater involving 10 chemical solvents, including trichloroethane, toluene, acetone, chloroform and other chemicals.
“Information obtained from the investigation indicated that the source of the release is the dry cleaning operations that have occupied the Silverstein property since around 1969,” the report concluded.
A cleanup plan was submitted to Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division, which will accept comments during a 30-day review period that begins Thursday. Copies of the corrective action plan are available at the Columbia County Library, 7022 Evans Town Center Boulevard, Evans, Ga.
Among the technologies proposed for the cleanup are soil removal and vapor extraction from existing soils.
Contamination from dry cleaning solvents is common and has been detected at many sites. Such solvents and chemicals are no longer released to soil and water.
In Richmond County, a $3.5 million plan to remove similar compounds that have affected about 350 acres in the Peach Orchard Road area, including a well field once used for municipal drinking water, is progressing slowly.
Although the solvent was detected only in raw water – and never in treated water pumped to municipal customers – the affected wells were taken out of service long ago. Recent studies suggest the contaminated water is a threat only if someone pumps it directly from the ground and drinks it.
The preferred cleanup method chosen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2007 involves technology called in-situ chemical oxidation, in which hydrogen peroxide is injected into the underground contamination, causing the toxic solvent to oxidize into harmless materials.
In November, newer technologies were introduced that could speed up the remediation and allow businesses that now occupy the sites to remain open during the cleanup.
The affected area – a loose triangle bounded by Peach Orchard, Lumpkin and Old Savannah roads – includes at least five source sites for the contamination, all current or former dry cleaning businesses.