State orders TCE polluter near SLO airport to remediate

By KAREN VELIE

After a lengthy investigation, the water board has determined the source of toxic levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) found in groundwater near the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, according to a remediation order. TCE is an industrial solvent linked to liver and kidney damage and childhood leukemia.

On May 3, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board sent a cleanup, abatement, and water replacement order to the current and former owners and operators of 4665 Thread Lane.

For more than 50 years, Noll Inc. has operated a machine shop on the property and used industrial solvents. The water board’s list of dischargers includes Herman Noll, Gwendolyn Noll, Janice Long, John Noll, Janice Noll, Noll Inc., and Noll Properties.

In 2015, the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health found TCE in six of 10 wells tested in the Buckley Road area. Of those, four wells had levels of TCE above the accepted threshold. Futher testing found an additional nine contaminated wells in the area of Buckley Road, east of Davenport Creek Road, Evans Road, and Thread Lane.

Last year, groundwater tests at 4665 Thread Road detected an elevated TCE concentration of 783 micrograms per liter, or 156 times higher than EPA standards for drinking water.

In its order, the water board is directing the dischargers to provide their neighbors with replacement water and to remediate “the effects of discharges of wastes, including TCE and associated volatile organic compounds that have been discharged to soil and groundwater at 4665 Thread Lane.”

The water board has scheduled a public meeting at their offices at 895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101, in San Luis Obispo for May 21, to discuss the cleanup and abatement order.

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