Regulators find new source of pollution near SLO airport

April 29, 2023


After determining the Noll family was responsible for toxic levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) found in groundwater near the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, regulators have determined a neighbor was the polluter.

In 2019, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board sent a cleanup, abatement, and water replacement order to the current and former owners and operators of 4665 Thread Lane. The Noll family has since spent about $50,000 a year providing their neighbors with water filters to protect against TCE.

TCE is an industrial solvent linked to liver and kidney damage and childhood leukemia.

On April 14, the water board reported it has now determined a neighbor of the Nolls — former geotechnical laboratory at 795 Buckley Road that stored TCE on site — is responsible for polluting the groundwater.

The water board ordered the owners of that property — John Coakley of Coakley Vineyards, James Michael Sims of Pacific GeoScience, Janine Garfinkel and Annette Terry — to devise a plan to clean up and replace the TCE polluted water in the neighborhood, according to a cleanup and abatement order.

In 2015, the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health found TCE in six of 10 wells tested in the Buckley Road area. Of those, four wells had levels of TCE above the accepted threshold. Futher testing found an additional nine contaminated wells in the area of Buckley Road, east of Davenport Creek Road, Evans Road, and Thread Lane.

In 2018, groundwater tests at 4665 Thread Road detected an elevated TCE concentration of 783 micrograms per liter, or 156 times higher than EPA standards for drinking water.

The water board has not yet determined if the Nolls family Thread Road property was also a source of TCE in the ground water.

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There is detectable Benzene in Santa Margarita’s drinking water (within the allowable government levels) but never mind the long time residents who were pancreatic cancer victims. Over the years there were six gas stations (abandoned why and how?). The disclaimer on the current water report says, “Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population”. I guess that means ???? and some re-locate elsewhere with no connection past drinking water history? This is not Camp Le June or a highly publicized issue because there are likely many “like” communities that have not been funded to research.

If the Noll family is indeed, not the source, will they get reimbursed?

They should, plus interest and legal fees

Ignore the cancer risk…time to approve more houses…or conversely, a good eason to expand the Airport protect our children. See how it works?

On a side note, does anyone know if the Sewer System in Los Osos has fixed the nitrate problem like promised?

I noticed they do not test or report Morro Bay water either to see if the pollution has disappeared either.

The best way to avoid having to deal with a “problem” is to avoid looking for it in the first place.

Seems to me if it solved the problem the powers that be would be giving themselves non stop accolades…

You got it! No more trophies or fancy dinners.