After some initial work in 2011, the EPA has managed an assessment program to monitor groundwater and soil vapour coming from the former Glenelg Dry Cleaners at 37–41 Cliff Street.
It has also been regulating the assessment of groundwater contamination originating from various other sites in the area including a former blacksmiths site since 1996, the dry cleaner since 2002 and a service station since 2008. Groundwater will remain contaminated in the area for the foreseeable future.
On 20 December 2018, the EPA established a Groundwater Prohibition Area in areas of Glenelg, Glenelg East and Glenelg South.
Mains water and water from rainwater tanks are not affected. Home-grown fruit and vegetables are safe to consume, provided they are not watered with contaminated groundwater (bore water).
Groundwater Prohibition area
The chemicals identified in the groundwater within the groundwater prohibition area are petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated hydrocarbons, such as perchloroethene otherwise known as tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE) and dichloroethene (DCE).
Before a determination on the prohibition was made, the EPA consulted the local community to provide information and seek feedback on the proposal. The engagement process was effective in helping the EPA to understand how current bore owners are using their bore water and at what depth. As a result of community feedback, a change in the depth and breadth of the prohibition from the original proposal has been made, enabling residents to continue to access uncontaminated aquifers.
Please visit our online engagement site for the latest information.
In 2011, the EPA informed approximately 280 landowners in the Glenelg East area that groundwater in the area was contaminated and had the potential to affect nearby properties. The source of the contamination was confirmed as a former dry cleaners. PCE was the primary chemical used at the dry cleaning site, however because it is more toxic, TCE is the primary human-health risk driver. In the presence of other contamination, such as petroleum hydrocarbons also present in groundwater, PCE will readily break down to form TCE.
Environmental consultants were first engaged by the EPA in 2014 to investigate soil vapour and the level of TCE in the air within the assessment area. Subsequent staged investigation was required to understand the extent of the contamination, requiring expansion of the original assessment area boundary.
Work undertaken on behalf of the EPA in late 2015 and reported in early 2016, predicted all the 420 properties in the expanded assessment area were at the 'safe’ level within the indoor air level response range for TCE. Of the 420 properties in the Glenelg East assessment area, there were 45 with very low predicted concentrations of less than 2 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) of TCE and the remainder of homes had predicted concentrations for indoor, lower than detection, i.e. safe.
During March 2017, the EPA commissioned installation of additional groundwater wells and soil vapour bores, to delineate the groundwater and soil vapour plumes. This was to monitor the progress of the contamination and also to determine if detection in the western part of the area was related to the Cliff Street former dry cleaning site or if a separate source was present. The assessment area was increased slightly in the south western corner to include an approximate 25 additional properties.
During October 2017, the EPA commissioned further additional groundwater wells to monitor the groundwater contamination and to determine the full extent of the plume in the western part of the area. The area was increased slightly to the west, to include an approximate 140 additional properties.
In November 2017, monitoring of soil vapour bores for seasonal variation was undertaken together with delineation of the groundwater plume for the purpose of establishing a groundwater prohibition area.
The risk assessment predicts all properties to have concentrations of TCE indoors at or below 2µg/m3. This is in the ‘no action’ range of the Indoor air level response range (see ‘fact sheets’ below). All properties are considered to be safe from vapour contamination in indoor air, in accordance with their current zoning as residential or commercial.
Letters to residents
- Community engagement report, December 2018
- February 2018
- August 2017 | Main | Please contact us for the appendices
- April 2016 | Main | Please contact us for the appendices
- SA Health preliminary health consultation report, July 2015
- June 2015 | Main | Appendix A to G | Appendix H | Appendix I to K
- January 2015 | Main | Figures | Tables | Appendix A & B | Appendix C to E | Appendix F | Appendix G | Appendix H | Appendix I & J
- March 2009
- November 2004
- November 2002
Please visit our engagement website for the latest media release.
Frequently asked questions
How did the EPA become aware of groundwater contamination in the Glenelg East EPA assessment area?
In 2007, the EPA received an Audit Report for a property on the north of Cliff Street, Glenelg East, which was being redeveloped for a residential use. It was identified at that time that there was potential groundwater contamination arising from a former dry cleaning facility directly south of the proposed residential development.
More extensive groundwater investigations commenced, in 2008, to assess the nature and extent of the site contamination arising from the former dry cleaning site.
What are the chemicals of concern?
The site was operating as a dry cleaning facility from the 1950s until approximately 2005.
The contaminants of concern in the groundwater are chlorinated hydrocarbons, such as, perchloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE), dichloroethene (DCE) and vinyl chloride (VC), and petroleum hydrocarbons.
PCE and TCE are common industrial solvents and were used widely as dry cleaning fluids, degreasers and metal cleaners. DCE and VC are generally present as the result of the degradation and breakdown of TCE.
Is there a soil/groundwater vapour issue associated with the contamination arising from contaminated groundwater?
As part of the EPA assessment process in the area, the risk of vapour entering homes and buildings has been investigated. An independent contractor has predicted all of the 420 properties in the assessment area to be at the 'safe level within the indoor air level response range for TCE, ie non-detection or less than 2 µg/m3.
Please visit our engagement website for further information.
For further information on health-related queries, please contact SA Health on (08) 8226 7100.
For site contamination related enquiries, please contact the EPA on (08) 8429 7554 or email.