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Air Tests Clean In Three Homes Near Plume

Ed Williams
A contractor sets up air testing equipment in a home near the Laun-Dry plume.

A chemical company has been testing the air inside homes for toxins near Downtown Albuquerque years after spilling dry-cleaning chemicals into the groundwater. So far, results show residents are not being exposed to chemicals.

The chemical leak at Laun-Dry Supply Company started decades ago, but until this February, no testing had taken place to see if a toxic solvent calledTCEhas been evaporating from the groundwater and rising into people’s homes as gas.

A public records request filed by KUNM shows that three homes have been tested in the Sawmill and Wells Park neighborhoods, and one more is planned. So far, TCE levels are below state and federal safety standards. The New Mexico Environment Department wants to check 10 more homes in danger of chemical exposure but hasn’t gotten permission from homeowners. This round of testing did not include any of the businesses in the area where the plume is most concentrated.

Laun-Dry is working on a cleanup plan for the groundwater contamination, which will go to the Environment Department for approval.

Ed Williams came to KUNM in 2014 by way of Carbondale, Colorado, where he worked as a public radio reporter covering environmental issues. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ed has reported on environmental, social justice, immigration and Native American issues in the U.S. and Latin America for the Austin American-Statesman, Z Magazine, NPR’s Latino USA and others. In his spare time, look for Ed riding his mountain bike in the Sandias or sparring on the jiu-jitsu mat.
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