Editor's note: The following information comes from a statement from the town of Arlington.
State officials are testing groundwater and indoor air quality at , after a preliminary examination identified low levels of a commonly used degreasing and dry cleaning chemical near the school.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection conducted limited testing at the school last week, as a part of the department’s efforts to identify the presence of Perchloroethylene—commonly referred to as PCE—, according to a statement from the town.
The testing identified low levels of PCE in the soil near the
school. Low to moderate levels of this chemical were also detected in some areas of the basement of the old portion of the building.
Officails said the levels of PCE detected thus far do not pose an immediate or substantial health risk to the school’s students or employees.
MassDEP, town and school officials said more comprehensive testing is warranted to ensure the utmost safety of building inhabitants. MassDEP has returned to conduct these tests this week and is expected to submit a report to Arlington next week.
PCE is a chemical used for dry-cleaning fabrics and metal degreasing
operations. It is also known as “Perc” and Tetrachloroethylene. If spilled onto or into the ground, it has the potential to dissolve in the
underlying groundwater and subsequently travel under the ground in the direction of groundwater flow. It has a propensity to volatilize or
“evaporate” out of the groundwater and impact overlying structures through “vapor intrusion.”