Expensive Water Cleanup in Las Vegas

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – It will cost $6 million to $8 million and 10 years of work to protect Las Vegas from a dry cleaner’s polluting groundwater with a carcinogenic chemical.
     Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto submitted the state’s cleanup plan for federal court approval on March 19.
     The plan would remove a plume of tetrachloroethylene from groundwater near the Boulevard Mall on Maryland Parkway. Masto says a now-closed dry cleaner doing business at the former Maryland Square Shopping Center from 1969 to 2000 contaminated the soil with the chemical, frequently used in dry cleaning.
     Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene, is known as TCE or PCE.
     Masto says the PCE reached shallow groundwater beneath the dry cleaner and created a plume about 6,000 feet long running mostly north beneath the Boulevard Mall and a residential neighborhood east of the mall.
     PCE can cause cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, impair the immune system and cause other health problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control. State officials say PCE also can cause vapor intrusion into homes and be inhaled.
     Since 2007, the state has tested nearby homes and installed mitigation systems to stop the vapors from entering them.
     To remove the PCE plume, the state wants to install a pump-and-treat system along the east side of the Boulevard Mall to extract water, remove PCE and return the cleaned water to the groundwater.
     The plan would place extraction wells along the east side of the Boulevard Mall’s parking lot to capture any contaminated water before it migrates beneath the nearby residential neighborhood. The extracted water would be treated and re-injected once it is clean.
     The cleanup plan also would use other remedial methods to remove PCE vapor, including air sparging and chemical oxidation. Air sparging involves injecting high-pressure air into the groundwater, capturing the vapor, cleaning it by vacuum extraction and then reinjecting it.
     Once approved, the state plans to start the cleanup by the end of this year and have it fully in place by the end of 2016.
     Masto says the cleanup will take a decade or more to complete and cost $5.7 million to $7.9 million.

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