A polluted aquifer in Hockessin will get federal cleanup assistance, after being added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Priorities List Tuesday.
The Hockessin Groundwater Site is one of six new sites the EPA will remediate. The site was proposed for the NPL in January 2018.
It is located along Route 41 in Hockessin, near many commercial and residential properties.
The site is contaminated by a substance called PCE, which is often used as a dry-cleaning solvent.
Delawares Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the EPA and Artesian Water Company have been investigating the site and have yet to determine the source of the contamination.
Artesian has a well field and numerous customers near the site. Executive Vice President Joseph DiNunzio says Artesian welcomes the designation and future cleanup assistance, as the company has had to spend their own funds since the early 2000s to install water treatment for the wells to ensure their customers quality water.
“I would hope the latest step by the EPA making this a recognized superfund site will further ensure protection of those on private wells,” DiNunzio said.
He says he also hopes it leads to improved efforts to address and reduce levels at the sources of the contamination.
“Because that ultimately means we see less of it, we have to treat less of it,” DiNunzio said. “Less treatment requires less funding, less money.”
Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley), whose district includes the site, says before the EPA even got involved, issues at the Hockessin Groundwater Site were documented at numerous meetings and through state tests.
“The reality is there’s an issue and we’re trying to clean it up,” Lavelle said. “The other reality is this is not a surprise. The issue of groundwater contamination has been going on for years now.”
He continued, “We’ve done everything I think reasonable to raise awareness, to communicate the issue and that has led to this designation which will then hopefully bring additional resources to there to clean it up.”
The EPA’s National Priorities List allows officials to use federal money from the Superfund program to continue to investigate and determine the source of contamination and how to fix the problem.