Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2005 17:17:44 -0400

From: David P Richardson <>

Subject: Re: FYI: New study finds water systems can generate percholorate

To: Bill Densmore <>


Beginning in mid-June, a team of Williams College scientists will begin a study of perchlorate contamination in the drinking water supply at Mount Greylock Regional High School.  This project will continue and intensify an ongoing study of perchlorate contamination that began last fall, some months after the problem was discovered, and will address several important questions.  First, it will provide accurate measurements of contamination and will trace any changes in perchlorate levels that may have been occurring recently.  Second, the study will search for and map any other perchlorate contamination sites in the local area, with special attention directed at possible contamination of surface soils, vegetation, and other nearby water supplies.  Finally, the study will attempt to identify and localize the source of perchlorate contamination.  The simplest current hypothesis for perchlorate contamination of well water at MGRHS is contact of groundwater with leaking industrial chemicals, or with fireworks and the residues from their use.  Recent research from selected parts of the country, however, has suggested that perchlorates might be produced by lightning strikes and by electrochemical reactions that can occur in conventional water treatment/supply systems.  The research work at MGRHS will consider all of these as possible sources of the contamination problem.  In addition, the project will seek permission to sample other water sources in the area for contamination by perchlorate and other heavy metals.  The research team will include three faculty members, Professors David Dethier (Geosciences Department) and David Richardson and John Thoman (both of the Chemistry Department), Jay Racela (Technical Assistant in the Center for Environmental Studies), and two students Manuel Moutinho, IV '07 and John Symanski '06.  Student participation is being supported by summer research grants from the Bronfman Science Center and from the Center for Environmental Studies.      



* David Richardson         * William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Chemistry  *

*                              *                               

* Chemistry Department     *               *

* Williams College         * phone (413)597-3201                           *

* Williamstown, MA  01267  * FAX   (413)597-4116                           *