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More Wells Showing Perchlorate Levels

Feb 21, 2003 | Morgan Hill Times The latest round of testing showed one-third of the 653 South County wells whose results are in to be contaminated with relatively low levels of the chemical perchlorate. So far 959 wells have been tested by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and by Olin Corp.

The state mandates an action level of four parts per billion. Most of the results received this week by the showed levels of between 4 and 10 ppb, though two were at 11 and 13. The original area of concern was bounded by Tennant Avenue on the north, Center and Masten avenues on the east and south and Monterey Road on the west. In the past two weeks, wells west, east and south of those roads were found to be contaminated.

“The farthest south we have found it is at Leavesley,” said Mike DiMarco, the water district’s spokesman.

He said the latest map of perchlorate “hits” is up on the district’s website, www.valleywater.org

The chemical is alleged to have entered the underground water table from an Olin Corp. plant that manufactured highway safety flares between 1955 and 1997 at Tennant and Railroad avenues in Morgan Hill. The “plume” migrated south, southeast, contaminating at least one-third of the San Martin wells tested to date. Water south of Cochrane Road flows south.

Olin Corp. has accepted responsibility for the “plume” and is providing free bottled water to all residents having their wells tested; it will continue to provide water to those whose wells test “positive.”

Besides having to deal with polluted drinking water, residents have also watched their property values plummet as buyers disappeared. Five San Martin residents filed a class action suit Friday against Olin and others.

Plans to broadcast the Feb. 12 meeting between 800 San Martin, Gilroy and Morgan Hill residents and government agencies responsible for water quality have been delayed because part of the video tape has no audio.

The tape would be broadcast on public access television channels. If another source is found, air time will be announced.

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