Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Water

TCE Water Quality Announcement

This announcement is to inform residents of Spring Park that there has been a recent issue with the trichloroethylene (TCE) in the Water provided by Spring Park. Years ago, there was a water treatment plant installed at City Hall to monitor and filter out the TCE before it hit your homes. This past summer, test results have shown an increase in TCE levels that are not yet in the emergency category, but in the “warning” category that has brought more awareness to our attention. The City is taking the appropriate precautions and are doing more frequent testing to ensure this does not become a problem for all residents. We are also brining in experts to look at our Water Treatment Plant to make sure everything is operating to its full capacity. Below is some information that might be helpful:

Representatives from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) met with City staff and Public Works on February 15, 2023 to discuss information we want to share with you about trichloroethylene (TCE) and the tests conducted on the Spring Park municipal water supply.

The Spring Park Municipal Well Field Site was added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in May 2018. It was added in order to investigate and address the possible source(s) of the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) that contaminated groundwater in two out of three wells that make up the city municipal water supply. TCE was first detected in the Spring Park municipal drinking water in 2004. Although TCE concentrations in the finished drinking water never exceeded federal drinking water criteria of 5 µg/L (micrograms per liter), the TCE detections became a concern in 2013 when the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) lowered its TCE health-based drinking water guidance value to 0.4 µg/L based on updated U.S. EPA toxicity information. As a result of exceedances of the MDH health-based guidance value, a new water treatment plant was built and began operating in 2017 to reduce TCE in drinking water and protect the health of Spring Park water users.

The source(s) of the TCE in the municipal wells is currently unknown. TCE is a common solvent that may have been used at several manufacturing or commercial properties in Spring Park. U.S. EPA began its enforcement process once the site was listed on the NPL to identify potentially responsible parties (PRPs) and plans to begin a Superfund-lead Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) in 2023. The goal of the RI/FS is to determine the nature, extent, and source(s) of contamination, and to identify PRPs. 

Spring Park residents and other users of the city water supply are exposed to small amounts of TCE from using the water for drinking and cooking and by breathing TCE that evaporates from the water into the indoor air. Exposures to TCE in the city water, both current and past, are not expected to harm people’s health.

However, recent testing has shown higher than typical amounts of TCE (0.79 µg/L in November and 0.67 µg/L in December 2022). These detections are above MDH’s health-based guidance value of 0.4 µg/L. While the amount of TCE in the water is not expected to harm people’s health, when health-based values are exceeded, MDH recommends action is taken to reduce exposures. Residents may choose to filter or use alternative water to reduce exposure to TCE, particularly for infants or small children. More information on TCE and health can be found on the MDH website at TCE in Drinking Water (

MDH and the city of Spring Park are continuing to monitor TCE concentrations in drinking water. The city is troubleshooting the maintenance of the water treatment system to optimize TCE removal.



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