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According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethane (TCA) are the most frequently detected volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in ground water in the United States. Due to its unique properties and solvent effects, TCE has been widely used as an ingredient in industrial cleaning solutions and as a “universal” degreasing agent.
In 2013, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) conducted a toxicological review of TCE in drinking water. MDH concluded that the main health concerns from exposure to TCE at the lowest exposures are immune system effects such as immunosuppression or autoimmune disease, including hypersensitivity; an increased chance of cancer from long-term exposure; and heart defects in the developing fetus if the pregnant mother is exposed in the first trimester. Other health effects related to TCE are observed only at higher exposures.
In 2013, MDH developed a Health-Based Value, or guideline, of 0.4 micrograms of TCE per liter. This level of TCE is safe for all people exposed to TCE in drinking water at any time during their life, including pregnant women and their fetuses, infants, children and other sensitive people, including those with impaired immunity.
A level of 2 micrograms per liter of TCE in drinking water protects all people who are exposed for an entire lifetime from cancer. The increased risk for cancer is estimated to be 1 additional cancer case in 100,000 people, which is considered a negligible cancer risk. The level is also safe for healthy adults who are only exposed to TCE after age 18, and protects pregnant women and their developing fetuses from heart defects.
There is currently no TCE above the MDH Health-Based Value in Edina’s water after it has been treated at the City’s water treatment plants.
TCE has sometimes been detected at the “raw water line” and mitigated before entering the public distribution system.
The MPCA and EPA have been working since the early 2000s on groundwater contamination in St. Louis Park. A plume of contamination has extended into Edina.In October 2003, Edina Well No. 7, a seasonal well, was shut down and not turned on again until Water Treatment Plant No. 6 was constructed.
All of the City’s drinking water for distribution has been at or below the federal limit for TCE. Water pumped out of the ground might have TCE in it, but it is treated and safe before distribution.
Further, the Environmental Working Group’s website acknowledges that the City has conducted work on TCE remediation in tap water and Edina is in compliance with legally mandated federal standards. View its website at https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=MN1270011#.W1jDdNVKhhF.
In 2012, the City opened Water Treatment Plant No. 6 at 5116 Brookside Ave. The plant, which treats 4 of the City’s 18 wells, is equipped with an aeration system designed to filter out vinyl chloride and other VOCs like TCE. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency paid for the design of the plant. The City also worked with the Minnesota Department of Health on the project.
Yes, you can view testing data from March 2010-June 2018 (PDF).
For more information on drinking water in Edina, read the recent issue of Public Works Pipeline (PDF), which includes the City’s annual drinking water report.
For more information on TCE in drinking water, visit the state's Department of Health's Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Your Health page.