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Comparing Cleanup Costs to Risk for Selected USAF Pump and Treat Systems: Remediating Trichloroethylene Contaminated Aquifers

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Technical rept.

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This paper investigates Pump and Treat PT systems operating at U.S. Air Force USAF installations having ground water contaminated with Trichloroethylene TCE. As part of this study, it was found that in 1997 the USAF was operating 86 PT systems at 49 of its installations. The EPA regulated TCE in drinking water in 1989 at a level of 5 ppb based on the results of annual bioassays. EPA established a health goal of zero and set the enforceable MCL at 5 ppb based on the feasibility of detection at the time. This study is a compilation of information on Air Force installation PT systems to submit to the EPAs Office of Ground and Drinking Water in support of a review and possible revision of the Drinking Water Standard for TCE to be based on a scientifically sound standard rather than the current policy based standard. Statistical forecasting was performed on 4 PT sites to determine when operations of the PT systems could be terminated based on the different cleanup levels of 5, 50, and 100 ppb. The statistical model algorithm was also used to forecast the lifetime excess cancer risk at the sites based on the TCE contaminant level. Cumulative costs and price to capture each gallon of TCE through time was also determined. By just considering the 4 sites the cost savings realized from raising the TCE MCL from 5 to 50 ppb would he approximately 60 million and from 5 to 100 ppb would be approximately 72 million. If the average cost savings from the 4 sites was applied to the 61 TCE sites, an estimated 0.9 billion to 1.1 billion could be saved by raising the TCE MCL to 50 ppb or 100 ppb, respectively.

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  • Water Pollution and Control
  • Economics and Cost Analysis

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