RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WDTN) – The United States Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with testing and expects results within a week from air samples taken inside homes in Riverside.
2 NEWS Investigates uncovered the environmental problem of vapor intrusion in November after hearing from residents in the area the EPA is calling Valley Pike VOC Site. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds.
Last summer tests showed high levels of a compound called PCE. It’s used in dry cleaning and degreasing metals. 2 NEWS Investigates confronted Steve Renninger of the U.S. E. P.A. about it back in November.
At that time he said, “These are the levels established by the health department for PCE. Anything above 60 is of concern. We saw it at 8200.
Pam Elliot: Oh my word. Steve Renninger: They’re very elevated.
Renninger said more testing was needed so the EPA along with the state and local health departments held a public meeting December 10. Renninger was pleased with the response. 2 NEWS Investigates caught up with him Friday in their office now set up at 2049 Harshman Road.
Owners of 75 homes in the Phase One area of 130 have signed consent forms so the EPA can place a device in their basements or crawl spaces and collect air samples. Already 15 samples have been sent to a lab and the first round of results should be available next week. The EPA wants to see how much PCE is showing up in homes. The compound can make you sick. High concentrations of PCE can even be deadly.
“We’re going catch it, make decisions based on numbers below the house before it even reaches the indoor air,” said Renninger.
Renninger says winter is the best time to collect samples because houses are closed up. The EPA is prepared to spend $6,000 per home, that covers the testing and mitigation systems that go inside homes to ventilate and remove air pollution.
“The first part of this project is to protect public health, to protect indoor air and we’re going to sample that and install mitigation systems where needed to protect indoor air, then later there will be an investigation of the groundwater and later if necessary a cleanup of the groundwater,” added Renninger.
The EPA says the groundwater is the source of contamination, but not drinking water. Riverside residents get their drinking water supply from Dayton.
Renninger told 2 NEWS Investigates once results are available the EPA will have one-on-one meetings with homeowners and if mitigation systems are needed they can be installed right away.