The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Division is requesting federal assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in resolving groundwater concerns.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Division is requesting federal assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in resolving groundwater concerns in the Newark area and determining the sources of contamination there.

The request comes after nearly two decades of successful efforts by the city of Newark, DNREC and the Division of Public Health Office of Drinking Water to maintain a safe drinking water supply for the city.

State officials from DNREC and DPH ODW, along with representatives of Newark, with support from the EPA, will hold a public informational meeting Nov. 17 about the Newark South Groundwater Plume Site, which encompasses an area of southeast Newark along Route 72 between Interstate 95 and Route 4 in New Castle County. The meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall Auditorium 125, 100 Hollowell Drive, Newark.

Newark has six municipal wells located in the area where groundwater was impacted by volatile organic compounds, which are organic compounds found in some industrial and commercial products that can cause adverse human health effects. Newark’s drinking water is treated by the city to remove VOCs from the water supply, enabling the water to continue meeting both federal and the more stringent state safe drinking water standards.

The source of the groundwater contamination has not been identified, despite numerous environmental investigations and remedial efforts by DNREC at sites of potential concern. DNREC subsequently has requested EPA’s assistance to help fully investigate the site and identify the sources of the VOCs contamination in the groundwater.

The public information meeting will offer an opportunity for DNREC, DPH ODW, EPA and Newark representatives to discuss with the community the upcoming investigation work by EPA on groundwater contamination in the area. The EPA will use Superfund authority and resources to determine if the site warrants further long-term investigation and cleanup. EPA’s investigations could result in the site’s being listed on the National Priorities List.

A presentation of the site’s history will be given by DNREC’s Site Investigation & Restoration Section, while Newark officials will discuss the ongoing, successful treatment of the public water supply at the city’s South Well Field Treatment Plant, which ensures Newark’s drinking water meets all primary and secondary maximum contaminant levels specified by the Safe Drinking Water Act and DPH’s Office of Drinking Water. Representatives will be available after the presentation at information stations to answer questions.