Ground Water

Trichloroethylene (TCE) Contamination

According to the National Library of Medicine, "trichloroethylene (TCE) is a non-flammable, colorless liquid with a somewhat sweet odor and a sweet, burning taste", mainly used as a degreaser, but also used in adhesive and paint removers. It's a chemical substance not found in nature, but due to chemical dumping, has ended up in water supplies and water wells. 

Groundwater Investigation

UNM remains involved in a trichloroethylene (TCE) contaminated groundwater investigation with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED). The research discovered low levels of TCE in the upper (shallow) aquifer on portions of the Central Campus and off-campus areas to the south, with no TCE detected in the lower (deeper) and higher producing sections of the aquifer that flow into UNM's water supply well. Given a host of variables, the source of the TCE contamination remains unknown.

Third-party pump testing to assess the connection or isolation of the upper/shallow sections to the lower/deeper areas of the aquifer strongly suggests that they are hydraulically isolated from each other, which is good news for UNM. Regardless, Facilities Management samples and analyzes the water from UNM's well each month to monitor the situation, which still shows an absence of TCE at or above the laboratory analytical method detection limit.