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Three families to receive more bottled water Chemical was found in wells near landfill


Three families living near the Keystone landfill, who received bottled drinking water from the Environmental Protection Agency after a hazardous chemical was found in their wells, will continue to get bottled water at least through next spring.

The federal agency will supply bottled water to families whose wells are contaminated with thallium through three more rounds of testing -- in autumn, winter and spring -- Christopher J. Corbett told the Keystone landfill task force last week. Mr. Corbett, a hydrogeologist, is the EPA's site manager for Keystone.

Keystone, a Superfund cleanup site, is a privately owned former landfill in Adams County, Pa., near Carroll's northern border. Residents have been seeking a cleanup for a decade.

Four residential wells, all in Pennsylvania, showed levels of thallium above the EPA's acceptable limits in tests early this year. One homeowner declined the agency's offer of bottled water.

Thallium can damage the nervous system, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in Atlanta. It was used in rat poison but was banned in 1972 because of potential harmful effects on people.

The EPA has not traced the source of the thallium.

If the next three rounds of tests don't show harmful levels of thallium, the EPA will discontinue the bottled water, Mr. Corbett said.

Representatives of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will be involved in any decision, said that agency's public affairs officer, Michael Greenwell. He said that after the three rounds of tests, "we'll work with them [the EPA] and see if the bottled water should continue."

The task force was told that the most recent round of tests showed no detectable thallium, but the laboratory used standards different from those of the EPA, so the results may have been invalid, William Hudson, EPA community involvement coordinator, said yesterday.

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