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Dartmouth Home Requires Additional Testing for TCE

Hanover — Initial test results for trichloroethylene have come back for five houses owned by Dartmouth College south of Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, and only one house showed levels near the screening level.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers performed testing between March 28 and April 10 after elevated levels of TCE were found in soil vapor along CRREL’s property boundary.

The test results ranged from non detectable to 0.42 micrograms per cubic meter. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has a residential screening level of 0.4 micrograms per cubic meter for indoor air. A screening level does not mean that action must be taken, but only further testing should be conducted.

None of the values approached interim action levels.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tested 12 Cedar Drive, 15 Cedar, 19 Fletcher Circle, 23 Fletcher and 25 Fletcher. The lowest indoor levels for TCE were found in 25 Fletcher, where 0.14 micrograms per cubic meter were found on the first floor, 0.18 micrograms per cubic meter were found in the basement.

The highest levels of TCE were found in 15 Cedar, where 0.36 micrograms per cubic meter were found on the first floor and 0.42 micrograms per cubic meter were found in the basement.

In the sub-slab of both units, 0.44 micrograms per cubic meter were found.

A report issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the measurements between the indoor air and sub-slab were so close together that the levels could be linked to background traces of TCE instead of vapor intrusion. Other chemicals, like benzene and chloroform, were also found in the homes.

Dartmouth has already agreed to install sub-slab depressurization systems in all 32 Fletcher-Cedar homes. The systems will work to force TCE in the soil away from the home. The design and installation process of the systems could take two months, according to a letter sent to residents.

Tests have already been conducted at Richmond Middle School, Brendel & Fisher and Hanover Family Chiropractic. All of the tests came back below the commercial screening level of 1.8 micrograms per cubic meter for the indoor air.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.