State investigation finds contaminants in downtown Laramie groundwater

A groundwater investigation in downtown Laramie has found a handful of pollutants that exceed federal maximum levels.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality hired Trihydro Corp. to drill about 35 wells in June in the downtown area.

State remediation program project manager Cindi Martinez said many of the wells did not reveal pollutants above Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant levels.

However, several wells identified volatile organic chemicals and liquids above the EPA thresholds, including one reading of a potential cancer-causing agent tetrachloroethylene (tetra-kloro-ETH-uh-leen) that was 78 times above the EPA maximum, the Laramie Boomerang reported ( ). The chemical is used in the textile industry and as a component of aerosol dry-cleaning products.

The state said it does not know if people are using the contaminated groundwater.

"Without a building-to-building survey, it's not possible for me to say definitively that no one downtown is using groundwater, but I would assume the vast majority of people are on the municipal water system," Martinez wrote in an email.

Other chemicals found in groundwater were used to make adhesives or plastic wrap that can also cause liver damage.

Martinez said the state investigation has not found a source of the contaminants.


Information from: Laramie Boomerang,