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Cancer-causing chemical found in Sandston groundwater

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the groundwater in Sandston in Henrico County.

The epicenter of their investigation is between East Williamsburg Road, Federal Street, Garland Avenue and Naglee Avenue.

Officials have been going door to door in recent days distributing flyers and asking for water samples.

According to the flyers, Tetrachloroethylene was discovered in groundwater recently in the area by a building contractor.

Tetrachloroethylene is a suspected carcinogen that is often found in dry cleaning.

Environmental officials are investigating the extent of the contamination or whether it was an isolated case.

"Groundwater typically moves very slowly, so it could of been a situation that happened years ago," Bill Hayden, a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality representative, said.

Hayden reported that the good news is that residents who live near the contamination all have county water and not well water.

County water in the area is still believed to be safe.

The concern for residents, according to Hayden, may be the evaporation of the water into homes -- if the contamination turns out to be widespread.

"It may come up out of the ground and evaporate into a crowded space beneath a home," Hayden said.

Hayden gave no indication when the investigation may be completed.

Anyone who feels their water may be unsafe is encouraged to call the department of environmental quality.


  • Eugene Golden

    Try sampling the ground water where the old Western Electric / AT&T / Lucent / Viasystems plant was located. You know where they built all the new stores and eating establishments at around 4500 S. laburnum Ave. ASee what you come up with there…if the county dares……

  • Stephanie

    Great reporting! You MIGHT have this cancer causing agent in your water or in the air under your house. Oh and by the way, this might have been happening for YEARS! No signs of what to look for and no contact information other than the DEQ but no phone number.

  • sean

    I heard about whats under those stores from a contractor that did work. He says it’s nothing but harmful chemicals under there. Chemicals ate up his shoes.

  • earl mccraw

    there is a machine shop near the railroad tracks that makes rollers (!i cant remember the name) during world war 2 they used to build tanks and they dumped so many chemicals in the ground there i was told the ground would smoke and catch fire if someone walked on it sometime in the 80’s.they have areas fenced off that to this day you are not allowed to be on because of contamination.

  • Cor

    “Groundwater typically moves very slowly, so it could of been a situation that happened years ago,” Bill Hayden, a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality representative, said.

    Mr. Hayden said “could’ve” not “could of”. Also he said “crawl space” not “crowded space”. Who is doing the transcribing here?

  • Arlene

    They need to get a list of all the families who lived in that area for the last 10 years and find out if there is an abnormally high incidence of cancer. Could the husband of the lady interviewed been a victim of this contamination?

  • Brenda Jones

    You might want to check the water supply or the ground out in the Short Pump area also. We have had 6 cases of cancer in the last 10 years. This is in the Whitaker Woods section off of Gayton Road next to the old Gayton coal mines.

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