For almost 20 years there has been an ongoing struggle for Camdenton residents to get answers and results concerning TCE (trichloroethylene) contamination. A dangerous degreaser chemical that had been dumped into their city water supply, buried, dug up, and dumped again at their public airport. Citizens are concerned that the chemical is still in their water supply and is intruding into their homes through the air. While this isn’t lead contamination the citizens here have struggled with many health concerns over the years.
The companies accused of this operated out of the same manufacturing building, Dawson, Sunstrand, and most recently Modine Manufacturing. The most shocking part is nothing has been done for the citizens, or the former factory workers that have serious health issues as well as some residents that have been stricken as well. Modine has been accused of this in the past and in every instance, they have denied responsibility for any of their past actions but have settled lawsuits across the U.S.
Certain residents have had their water, air, and soil tested and it has, in some instances been a thousand times over the acceptable limit for TCE. An independant investigation of the area tried to take a vapor probe reading from a monitoring well, on a public street, and the readings exceeded his instruments capability of 199,999 VOC. MoDNR tested this same well with their insturments and it came back at 1,270,000 for vapor intrusion.
A timeline has been put together of the events on a facebook group page of concerned citizens
1967 Dawson Metal built building and started manufacturing HVAC parts (TCE)
1967 Factory discharged untreated wastewater to Hulett Lagoon
1974 Sundstrand Tubular Products HVAC parts (TCE)
1986 discharged wastewater no longer dumped into Hulett Lagoon
1989 Hulett Lagoon shut down and removed 2000 cu yd (possibly to Camdenton Airport (superfund site #MOSFN0703532 interestingly name ‘Camdenton Sludge Disposal’ from DNR website files since deleted-but saved for reference by concerned citizens)
1990 Modine buys and begins manufacturing HVAC parts (TCE)
1994 11.8 Parts Per Billion in 94 according to this MoDNR document section 35, the MCL is 5.0JG https://dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/permits/mod062439351/19990809-aoc.pdf
1997 Modine switches production to radiators
1998 or 1994 TCE discovered (68ppb) in Mulberry Well and shut Well down
1998 City pumps Mulberry Well regularly to prevent contaminated groundwater from entering Lake of the Ozarks (pumping water down the hill then released to ground surface)
1999 (JULY) Corrective Action and Abatement Order on Consent with DVR Hazardous Waste program to City of Camdenton and Modine (Sundstrand also assists)
1999 MDNR named on Superfund National Priorities List-left unlisted due to Sundstrand agreeing to take responsibility
2002 Modine removed 7426 tons of contaminated soil from around the building and backfilled with clean soil (possibly to Camdenton Airport superfund site #MOSFN0703532 interestingly named ‘Camdenton Sludge Disposal’ from DNR website files since deleted-but saved for reference by concerned citizens) MoDNR re-uploaded the document after it was noticed.
2003 Modine sampled indoor air 6 areas -TCE at all sampling locations
2006 MDNR conducted soil sampling under building-determined not a significant contributing source of groundwater contamination
2006 MDNR conducted soil sampling along sewer connecting to lagoon results as high as 2570mg/kg- above EPAs residential soil screening for TCE but were acceptable levels
2008 EPA re-reviewed Modines Indoor Air Investigation Report notating levels as high as 330 micrograms per cu meter (1000 times above acceptable levels)
2012 Modine moved operations leaving building empty
2015 (December) 10 homes sampled
2015&2016 Modine restested indoor air quality (after restarting HVAC) all indoor testing sites were unaccpectable – as high as 121 micrograms per cu meter
2016 (March) 21 total homes sampled (1 home has been equiped with mitigation system)
Facts are hard to come by due to the length of time this has been on-going. However TCE will last for hundreds (if not thousands) of years in the ground and it isn’t going away anytime soon for the residents or the current city administration. The city has had a public well on Mulberry street directly next to the contaminated plant, taken offline in 99′ or 97′ and detected as early as 94′ in the city’s public drinking water supply. Confused about the differences in dates? So are we. MoDNR has conflicting reports on their abatement’s about that very subject. They have left a note at the bottom of one of their abatement orders that since it is a legal document they can not change it. Concerned reporters following the story noticed they had taken the 2016 abatement off their website. So if we go by the earliest detection (or the earliest abatement) the city of Camdenton was drinking water contaminated with TCE from 94′ to January of 99′ until that well was taken offline.
Even more unusual, is their (the city of Camdenton’s) methodology for containing the TCE. The Mulberry Well is 900 feet deep. It has been estimated that the TCE plume has hit the towns water aquifer and has spread out miles outside of the contamination zone. The method follows a process known as “air stripping” here is an EPA document on how to do so. (EPA PICTURES)
Here is how the city of Camdenton currently deals with the TCE contamination in their well.
A New York times article used the EWG (enviormental working group) data findings that Camdenton, Missouri https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/toxic-waters/contaminants/mo/camden/mo3010130-camdenton/index.html has some of the dirtiest water in the state. 50 contaminates found in the public drinking supply. Twice during that time the city of Camdenton’s water has tested above the legal limit in 2006 and 2009. (EWG stopped doing assessments for the area 2009)
Disturbingly enough, that number has been raised to 56 in 2016 according to the M0DNR this report. http://drinkingwater.missouri.edu/maparchive/swip2009/temp/report_3010130.pdf?0.5711743
It is past time for the citizens of the city to have an honest conversation about their town. The amount of cancer, auto-immune diseases and nuerological disorders in the area is shockingly high for a town this size. If the city has answers, they owe it to their people to give them those without trying to stay the course on a sinking ship. In August 2017 MoDNR is going to release their findings on who is at fault for the contamination, the city says they are victims while in several of the MoDNR abatements and corrective actions they list the city as responsible for allowing the dumping to happen at the Hullet Lagoon.