A grain handling facility in Freeman, Washington, has been designated as a Superfund site.
In 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered carbon tetrachloride and chloroform in soils at the facility and in groundwater collected from nearby wells. One of the wells supplies water for the Freeman School District.
The school district has been treating the water to remove tetrachloride and chloroform before the water is consumed by students, teachers and other employees at the elementary, middle and high schools. EPA officials said the long-term goal is to ensure that water from the well meets drinking-water standards without requiring treatment.
Giving the site a Superfund designation will allow federal funds to be used for cleanup if a liable party can’t be identified. The state Department of Ecology will oversee additional studies identifying the extent of the contamination and the level of cleanup needed.
Carbon tetrachloride was used to fumigate grain until it was banned as a pesticide in 1986. Long-term exposure to the pesticide can result in damage to the liver, kidney and nervous system, EPA officials said.
Rockford Grain Growers sold the grain facility to Cenex Harvest States in 1993. The elevator sits on land that belongs to the Union Pacific Railroad.
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