[mccookgazette.com] Mostly Cloudy ~ 39°F  
High: 63°F ~ Low: 38°F
Monday, May 2, 2016

Company releases data showing reduction in contamination

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Data released by the Northrop Grumman Corp. this week illustrates the size of the plume originating from the TCE contaminated TRW Facility in McCook. From left, the data from monitoring equipment in the area was used to create a graphic representation of the plume size and TCE concentrations as they were in 1998, image on the right utilized 2010 data.
(Northrop Grumman)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The Northrop Grumman Corp. provided further information to the Gazette this week that illustrated the history of the trichloroethylene plume, originating from the TRW facility site in McCook, by tracking its size since 1997 up to the most recent report done in 2010. After releasing a 2010 soil analysis and risk assessment report earlier this month, that stated the remediation system at the site has resulted in a significant reduction in the plume size and a decrease in overall TCE concentrations, the illustrations offer some easier to understand data about the site.

Northrop Grumman has been supplying the data to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality on an annual basis. Pumping to mitigate the contamination was performed in conjunction with ongoing groundwater monitoring. "The goal was not only to reduce it [TCE levels] but to halt the movement and spread of it," said Jeff Gwinn, lead consultant for the project with Orion Environmental Inc., an environmental consulting company hired by Northrop Grumman.

Illustrations provided by Northrop Grumman show that in 1997 the plume was approximately 4,800 feet in length and varied from 300 to 850 feet in width. It began at the former TRW facility location and spread southeast reaching past Kelley Creek. By 2001 the data showed that it had been broken into two separate plumes and began retracting from its previous southernly spread.

The smaller plume was approximately 1,500 feet long and no more than 375 feet wide and the larger was approximately 2,300 feet long with a fairly steady width of 750 feet.

The 2002 data represented the first year that TCE levels in excess of 1000 ug/L were not detected in the northern plume near the TRW facility site.

In 2004 Northrop Grumman added a bio-remediation pumping station to the southern plume, just north of the railroad tracks. It was situated in the last remaining "hot spot," which was the only area left that contained TCE levels in excess of 1000 ug/L. The bio-remediation pumping station pumps ground water to the surface, then adds microorganisms that are specifically cultivated, before injecting the amended water back into the ground.

This continual flushing of the water resulted in a successful reduction of the hot spot, so that by 2007 all TCE levels within the two plumes had been reduced to less than 1000 ug/L and the southern plume no longer reached past Kelley Creek.

2010 data for the site shows that the southern plume has continued to decrease and has been reduced to a length of approximately 2,000 feet, with an average width of 500 feet. The northern plume is now approximately 900 feet long with an average width around 350 feet.

In December Northrop Grumman expanded the bio-remediation system just north of the railroad tracks that is operated by Milco Environmental Services Inc., who also performed the December 2010 soil analysis and risk assessment report.

"This is a long term project that Northrop Grumman is committed to for as long as it takes to ensure the aquifer stays stable. We will continue to give the site the same level of attention that it has been given, until the project is complete," said Kurt Batsel, Northrop Grumman project manager for the site.

Fact Check
See inaccurate information in this story?

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on mccookgazette.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

This is a much better article than what was posted on the front page headlines previously about this issue. Unfortunately, it was pointless to print the maps, you can't read them. You can't read them on line either.

The article was interesting but I would be interested to know what is being done to monitor health assesments to those within the plume? Are there stats being done on cancers? Is there monitoring of levels or samples in the populations people?

This makes me feel a little naked and not sure if I am safe from the effects. I lived in an affected area and so do my parents. Both being out of state transplants, only hearing second hand info on what the treatment plant was for in town. I never knew of the plume until now.

I wondered why I always broke out in a rash for a couple hours after showering every day when I lived on the east side of town. I was sure it was the water causing it, but thought it was a McCook water issue. When I moved back here after being gone a few years there was a new water treatment facility and I had no more "rashes" after showering. My new residence I purchased a softener too.

So I ask, is there monitoring of the population for exposure levels in their bodies? I noticed this has to do with the aquifer, so showering in the water would be an issue of exposure. Most people I know don't drink McCook water, it's nasty tasting. Can you write an article on exposure in people not just land, air or water. It's the peoples safety that is important.

I doubt that just because the levels are considered "safe" now mean that it was safe then or that people may not have negative health effects from the contamination. I would really like to know. Thank you.

-- Posted by Jerie Quinty on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 10:51 AM

Ms Quinty:You have many valid points and questions. Unfortunately, none will be answered truthfully by the proper officials. You are correct to assume the water is suspect. I work as an advocate for people being poisoned in this instance, as well as The Gulf coast clean up workers and others affected by the coverups of these egregious incidents. Upon further research, our organization has gathered even more data and reports regarding this. It should be loud and clear to you that all press and governmental officials are more concerned with NG providing money to the town than the lives of affected people in your area. Should you decide to speak out, you will be ostracized by these entities and labelled a "crackpot". Never fear. The valid first question is the reliability of a company HIRED by NG to test the soil and water. Of course their samples will say everything is safe. The EPA of the United States government will also concur everything is safe just as they did for responders of the 9/11 tragedy and the Gulf of Mexico disasters. To this day, we have lost over 900 lives in the New York instance, and we see the huge decline in the health of the Louisiana residents. We have submitted all data, numberous photos to other entities as well as people such as Erin Brockovitch.We have also submitted it to hundreds of alternative media websites for publishing nationwide. It may take precious time, but rest assurred justice will be served

-- Posted by Congressman on Thu, Mar 24, 2011, at 4:00 PM


What is the name of your organization, reads like you do important work.

Thank You

-- Posted by Fundin on Mon, Mar 28, 2011, at 3:11 PM

Fundin: We are volunteers involved with both charitable, political, and anti-geo engineering groups, such as www.libertycandidates.org, www.savethegulf.com and www.thetruthdenied.com

-- Posted by Congressman on Thu, Mar 31, 2011, at 8:02 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration:

Related subjects