Independent laboratory tests have found no evidence of industrial solvents in a well located north of the Hercules Bacchus Works plant.

On March 10, Hercules announced a test well at the boundary of the plant showed levels of organic solvents that were higher than allowed for drinking water, under federal standards. Solvents are used for everything from glue thinner to degreasers for rocket engines.Hercules blamed careless disposal practices in the past for the contamination and commissioned the independent laboratory to test a private well nearby.

"If solvents were present in the water they would have been detected by this test," said Ruth Novak, vice president and general manager. "We are by no means finished with our testing program. This is only the initial step in assessing the groundwater and taking the necessary steps to address the situation."

Test results showed none of the compounds in the water at the detection limits of one part per billion, a standard below federal safe drinking water standards. The well is located a half mile north of the Hercules property, and it is one of the two drinking water wells in the area that are marked for testing. Three other wells in the area have also been tested.

The test well had levels of the industrial solvents DCE (1, 1-dichloroethene) and TCE (trichloroethene) that were higher than federal drinking water standards.