- Associated Press - Saturday, July 5, 2014

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) - City and state officials are closely monitoring groundwater near the central Nebraska city of Hastings after contaminants that environmental officials say are from an old section of the city landfill found their way into area water wells.

Volatile organic compounds have been detected in monitoring wells and in a private well at a home a half-mile east of the landfill, the Hastings Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1m3guUd ) Saturday.

As a result, City Engineer Dave Wacker has asked the Hastings Board of Public Works to connect the home to Hastings’ water system and to waive any out-of-district fees to do so.

In a June 19 letter to the city utility, Wacker wrote that while contaminants weren’t found in monitoring wells and the home water from 2007 to 2011, later testing showed low amounts of contaminates. Last November, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality mandated that the city increase its sampling rate for the private well from twice a year to quarterly.

“Since then, test results are trending even higher,” Wacker wrote.

Officials are planning to close the private well once the home is connected to the city’s water system.

The source of volatile organic compounds tend to include household products like paints, paint strippers, and other solvents, aerosol sprays, cleansers and disinfectants and fuels and automotive products, among other things, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Ed Southwick, with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality’s waste management division, said DEQ investigators believe the contaminants are coming from a leak in an older, closed cell of the landfill.

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Information from: Hastings Tribune, http://www.hastingstribune.com

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