What is PCE?
Tetrachloroethylene is also known as perchloroethylene - hence the common acronyms PCE or PERC.
This chemical is a chlorinated solvent.
PCE is used commercially as industrial degreasers, spot removers, and in dry cleaning.
PCE is not a natural chemical, it is manmade.
Exposure typically occurs via drinking contaminated water. PCE typically gets into drinking water aquifers when it is improperly disposed of, and is able to leach into groundwater.
PCE can also be inhaled. The chemical is a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) which means it readily vaporizes.
Chronic PCE exposure can cause damage to the liver, the kidneys and the central nervous system. It may also lead to increased risk of cancer.
The MCL for PCE is 5.0 ppb (5.0 grams per billion grams of water).
Well No. 4 in Chubbuck has tested positive for tetrachloroethylene. The source of the PCE contamination is unknown at this time.
The water is being treated successfully to remove high concentrations of PCE. The City has completed construction of a treatment plant at Well No. 4. It removes PCE using an air stripping process. The only remaining construction needed at Well No. 4 are exhaust fan noise baffling and possibly some aesthetic treatment of the stripper tower, which we hope to complete in the near future.
Visit EPA's excellent fact sheet on PCE and groundwater at: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/dwh/c-voc/tetrachl.html
Also visit Environmental Defense Fund's PCE Scorecard at: http://www.scorecard.org/chemical-profiles/summary.tcl?edf_substance_id=127-18-4