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Residents in Severn are being forced to drink bottled water. Officials say there are hazardous materials in the drinking water determined to have come from a factory decades ago.
Eight homes, mainly along Twin Oaks Road and Minnetonka Road, proved to have high levels of the toxin, 1,1DCE or 1,1-dichloroethene in well water. Residents were immediately taken off of their well water and placed on bottled water only.
Dichloroethene is an industrial chemical not found naturally. It is a colorless liquid with a mild, sweet smell and is used to make certain plastics like food wraps and packaging materials. It is also used to make flame-resistant coatings for fiber carpet backings, piping coating for steel pipes and in adhesive applications.
In 1996, Emerson acquired the property located in the 7500 block of Harmans Road from Kop-Flex, Inc. Soil and groundwater contamination were discovered.
In 1998, the factory was accepted into the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) voluntary cleanup program. A plan was immediately initiated to clean up the area.
Starting in 2007, supplemental investigations found that not all of the contaminates were being addressed. In fact, the cleanup was not effective in some areas.
It was 2012 before several stages of investigation were completed.
In February 2012, tests found the toxin had been introduced into a deeper level groundwater that had initially not been affected. Immediately, MDE provided bottled water to those who had contaminates in their drinking water.
Now, officials with MDE say they are continuing with testing to examine if more homes have been affected as well as install deep wells in the surrounding area to make sure the toxins haven't spread. In addition, Emerson is in the process of offering residents hook-ups to Anne Arundel County water to take place of the wells.
For more information about the contamination or for more 1,1DCE click here.