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Orange County Digest

Local News in Brief : Santa Ana : Toxic Residues Found Under Recycling Firm

February 08, 1988

Toxic chemicals have contaminated the soil and ground water beneath a Santa Ana solvent recycling firm, with some substances found in concentrations thousands of times greater than levels considered safe, county health officials said.

The ground water 10 to 20 feet beneath Holchem Inc. in the 1300 block of East Maywood Avenue has trichloroethylene at 38,000 times the state-determined "action level," said Robert E. Merryman, the county's director of environmental health.

The action level is a state standard for unacceptable levels of chemicals in drinking water.

The ground water was also found to contain methylene chloride at 3,800 times its action level and trichloroethane at 600 times its action level, Merryman said.

The chemicals were found in soil samples at a "lower but still significant magnitude," Merryman said.

Health inspectors examined drinking water wells a mile away and found no trace of the chemicals, he said.

"At present, the contamination at this site does not pose a threat to public drinking water supplies," Merryman said.

Holchem recently purchased the site from another solvent recycler, Merryman said. The chemicals were discovered through a legally required inspection of the site.

The cause of the contamination is under investigation, he said.

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