Millsboro TCE

Millsboro, DE - Region III


Site Contact:

Michael Towle
On-Scene Coordinator

Wharton St. & Dupont Highway
Millsboro, DE 19966

Latitude: 38.5880270
Longitude: -75.2988310

The Millsboro TCE Site includes a probable source area, a TCE-contaminated ground water plume, and the public drinking water supply system operated by the Town of Millsboro. The probable TCE source area is located at the intersection of Wharton Street and South Dupont Highway. The area is presently a vacant lot. Formerly, the property at the probable source area included a laboratory facility which manufactured poultry vaccines between approximately 1952 and 1999. The facility included an underground tank suspected to be the probable source of the TCE contamination to the public water supply wells. The Site additionally includes a plume of TCE-contaminated groundwater migrating from the probable source area towards and into public drinking water supply wells serving the Town of Millsboro. There are two supply wells known to be contaminated by TCE. The entire area of the Site is located on relatively flat ground and under both residentially and commercially populated areas of Millsboro, DE.

The analytical results of the routine analysis of water samples collected from the public supply wells indicate the presence of trichloroethylene. Since 2005, TCE in the most contaminated well has been detected at concentrations as high as about 800 ug/L; but within the past year TCE has been routinely detected between approximately 200 and 350 ug/L. The area of contaminated groundwater is estimated to be approximately 1500 feet long and 300 feet wide.

Several response actions were conducted at the Site between the late 1980’s and the late 1990’s that involved the removal of underground and above-ground storage tanks. However, it is unknown if any of these actions involved the removal of any source of TCE. Additionally, environmental evaluations of the Site were performed in1997, but the suspected source of TCE was not established. After discovery of the elevated TCE in the drinking water supply of the Town of Millsboro in 2005, the public wells were initially taken out of service and then ultimately fitted with granular activated carbon units to remove TCE from the wells. Following an investigation in 2005 by a Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) contractor, the probable source area was identified. The DNREC conducted an interim action at the Site which involved the removal of underground tanks and piping which were suspected to function as drywell, septic, or leaching tanks. The sludge in at least one of these tanks contained elevated concentrations of TCE. DNREC removed the sludge and approximately 209 tons of contaminated soils surrounding the underground tanks.

The EPA initiated sampling activities at the Site in September 2009 in support of overall actions at the Site intended to protect public health. EPA assumed responsibility for changing the carbon in September 2009 and changed the carbon for each well between November and December 2009. An Order was issued in potentially responsible parties in May 2010 effectively enabling the OSC to complete the scope and intent of the Removal Action.

For additional information, visit the Pollution Report (POLREPS) section.