Contaminant Found in Fla. Aquifer

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Central Florida's main source of
drinking water contains traces of a potentially toxic chemical
leaking from a former Superfund cleanup site, officials said.

Environmental Protection Agency officials hope to identify the
pollutant in the coming weeks and determine its health risk,
the Orlando Sentinel reported in Wednesday's editions

The substance, composed of pesticide molecules long
classified as toxic, seeped into the ground below the
abandoned Tower Chemical Co. plant, roughly a dozen miles
west of Orlando.

The pollutant then traveled through a sinkhole 90 feet
underground into the Floridan Aquifer, a layer of porous rock
from which most of the region draws its drinking water.

EPA officials don't know how far the chemical might spread.

So far, most of the contamination is within 100 feet of the
sinkhole, said EPA site manager Galo Jackson, of Atlanta.
Minute traces were also found in drinking water wells of
several nearby homes.

The crumbling factory sits about a half-mile from a subdivision
of more than 350 homes.

Tower Chemical, which operated from 1957 to 1980,
produced chlorobenzilate, used by the citrus industry to kill rust
mites. In its final year, the company also extracted chemicals
from DDT, which had been banned as a pesticide in 1972.

The site's $6 million cleanup ended 10 years ago. About $15
million worth of work originally slated to remove more
pollutants was deemed unnecessary.

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