Ethylene Dibromide Found in Groundwater



Ethylene dibromide (EDB) was found in the groundwater in a localized area just southeast of the Laboratory's boundary. The area was located about 1,000 feet west of Weeks Avenue in Manorville. Remedial investigations were conducted on the area and the source was traced back to the old BNL Biology Fields. EDB was once commonly used throughout the country as a pesticide and gasoline additive. BNL applied EDB to fields onsite in the early 1970s to sterilize them prior to agricultural research.

Remedial Action

In 1996, DOE offered free public water hookups to residents in the Manorville area to prevent the potential for future exposure to EDB and proposed to carefully monitor the plume allowing it to naturally degrade and disperse over time. However, after reviewing several years of groundwater monitoring data, receiving additional comments from regulatory agencies, and obtaining data from a similar carbon system operating on Cape Cod, the plan was changed in 2000 to use active treatment to speed cleanup of the area.

A treatment system was designed and constructed and began operating in August 2004. The treatment system works by filtering groundwater through carbon to remove the EDB and returns the clean water to the aquifer. There are 27 wells monitoring the plume that are sampled quarterly. As of 2010, the system is on schedule to meet the cleanup goal identified in the 2001 Record of Decision by 2030.

Document / Links

OU VI Record of Decision

OU VI Groundwater Cleanup Fact Sheet