Water from at least one household well will be tested in the coming weeks for volatile organic compounds to assure the safety of well water in the area between Little Valley and Salamanca.
Eric Wohlers, director of the Cattaraugus County Health Department, promised to take samples from Jodi Scanlon's well to test for trichlorethylene (TCE), an industrial degreaser.
Her well was tested in January 1997 and the levels of TCE were not sufficient to require an emergency installation of a filtering device to remove the chemical.
However, other homes have been equipped with air stripper filters under a federal Superfund cleanup to remove TCE from the water.
Mrs. Scanlon was one of about 50 county residents and lawmakers at a panel discussion Thursday night of the cleanup efforts and other issues related to a natural gas pipeline proposed to intersect the area of contamination.
Representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Cattaraugus County Health Department, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Millennium Pipeline Project answered questions and reported on the status of both projects.
After the meeting, Cathy Young, chairwoman of the County Legislature's Agriculture and Development Committee, said the forum allowed the county to play an important role in bringing the authorities face to face with concerned residents.
She said some people who have not received air stripper filters to remove TCE contamination from their wells have asked for further testing and have requested that municipal water be piped to homes between Little Valley and Salamanca.
"There is another group of people who have a theory that the gas pipeline's electromagnetic field may affect the levels of TCE in their wells," she said.
Fran Nye lives near a National Fuel pipeline and the area of high TCE levels. The proposed Millenium pipeline will bisect National Fuel's pipeline on his property.
He asked if the Millenium pipeline could disturb the TCE, place an electromagnetic charge on water wells and spread the chemical to previously uncontaminated wells.
Wohlers said there is no scientific reason that could happen but asked Nye and other residents with similar questions to submit sources of scientific information for their theory.
Millennium pipeline officials verified that the new pipeline will be coated with a special substance and then receive a protective electrical charge every 25 miles to prevent corrosion. They said the electromagnetic charge may not be contained within the pipeline right of way.
Other residents expressed concern about the pipeline's possible impact on Little Rock City and federally protected areas within the Little Rock City Park.