Risks Increasing for Properties with Chlorinated Solvent Contamination


For properties where chlorinated solvents have been released, new regulatory challenges and related liability concerns are increasing as a result of controversial human health studies recently published by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The following summarizes the new challenges and presents recommendations for addressing them.

Issues Presented by Chlorinated Solvents

Properties with chlorinated solvent contamination are already particularly difficult to clean up to meet regulatory standards. The two chlorinated solvents most typically of concern are tetrachloroethylene (PCE), a chemical long used in dry cleaning, and trichloroethylene (TCE), used in parts washing and degreasing activities. Both of these chemicals can migrate in groundwater, sink through water into bedrock where they are difficult to reach, contribute in certain conditions to indoor air contamination (known as “vapor intrusion”), and already are subject to very stringent cleanup standards.

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