Leuna: Carcinogenic chemical in groundwater

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The cause of the groundwater contamination with carcinogenic PFT remains unclear

The groundwater in Leuna is contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals. As a spokeswoman for the district office in Merseburg officially confirmed, increased concentrations of so-called perfluorinated surfactants (PFT) were found in the groundwater in the district of Spergau.

The toxic chemical is particularly dangerous because it accumulates in the environment and in the human body over time. A PFT contamination in groundwater is therefore extremely critical and, in principle, the PFT can only be removed from the water again with activated carbon filters. The around 1,000 residents of the Spergau district of Leuna will probably have to live with the contaminated groundwater for some time to come.

Chemical industry as the cause of groundwater pollution? The city of Leuna in Saxony-Anhalt is one of the best-known chemical locations in Germany. During the GDR era, Leuna-Werke, the then largest chemical industry company in East Germany, was located here. Today there are numerous chemical companies on the site of the former Leuna works, whereby the list reads like the who's who of the chemical companies: Total, Addinol, BASF Leuna GmbH, Linde AG, Dow and many more on site. There is reason to suspect that the PFT contamination of the groundwater could be related to the chemical industry, but the responsible authorities do not want to hear about this and name a street in Spergau as a possible origin of the PFT. Although the district is in the immediate vicinity of the former Leuna works, it is said that PFT connections were never processed there. In addition, there are currently no indications of possible contaminated sites, the authorities said.

Further investigations into the chemical pollution of the groundwater The property owners advise the property owners not to use the water from their own well for the time being. Whereby "for the time being" is an elastic term, because according to newspaper reports the exposure has been known since February. The PFT contamination of the groundwater was noticed according to the statement of the water and wastewater disposal association in Bad Dürrenberg, when increased PFT values ​​were detected during routine checks in the sewage sludge of the waterworks. The subsequent investigations would have shown that the carcinogenic chemical probably got into the wastewater via the increased groundwater level. However, the cause of the pollution has not yet been conclusively clarified. Further investigations of the PFT connections in the laboratory have not yet been completed, the results are expected in 14 days, according to the authorities. These are intended to help determine the origin of the carcinogenic chemical. The house water wells are also monitored, according to the authorities. However, according to the experts, it is generally extremely difficult to determine the origin of the PFT pollution, so that it can be doubted whether the authorities will actually track down the polluter. (fp)

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Image: Dieter Schütz / pixelio.de

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