TCE leak threatens water supplies for more than 1 million

Several hundred gallons of trichloroethylene, or TCE, have leaked from a landfill on a nearby Army base, threatening the water supplies of more than a million people.

AUSTIN, Texas, July 2, 2001 — Several hundred gallons of trichloroethylene, or TCE, have leaked from a landfill on a nearby Army base, threatening the water supplies of more than a million people.

The TCE leaked into the Trinity Aquifer and could spread to the Edwards Aquifer, which supplies parts of the Austin area.

No local drinking water wells in the area near the leak have yet tested positive for TCE.

TCE is commonly used to remove grease from fabricated metal parts and some textiles. High enough doses of TCE can cause liver and nervous system damage.

The maximum contaminant level (MCL) has been set at 5 parts per billion (ppb) because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes, given present technology and resources, this is the lowest level to which water systems can reasonably be required to remove this contaminant should it occur in drinking water.

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