The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has announced two new Superfund investigations in response to reports from Camdenton citizens that trichloroethylene (TCE) may have been dumped at locations other than the former Modine facility and Camdenton’s Hulett Lagoon.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has announced two new Superfund investigations in response to reports from Camdenton citizens that trichloroethylene (TCE) may have been dumped at locations other than the former Modine facility and Camdenton’s Hulett Lagoon.

MDNR plans to conduct a Pre-Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act Screening of a facility located at 1225 US 54, named by Superfund as “Dawson Metal Products Camdenton Facility #2,” as well as an investigation into the Camdenton Sludge Disposal Area located in a field north of Forbes Road at the end of the runway at Camdenton Memorial Lake Regional Airport, according to an updated section on its website created in late July.

In July of 1972 there was a fire at Dawson’s main facility located 221 Sunset Drive Facility and it has been reported that operations were then temporarily moved to the building on US 54. Formerly known as the Cox building, the property is currently owned by Dickerson Building, LLC and occupied by the Laker Fishing Tackle Company.

“During operations at the Cox building, it has been reported that TCE was disposed out of the back door into the environment,” according to MDNR’s website. “Given the TCE contamination documented in soil and groundwater at the original Dawson facility (now the Modine Manufacturing site), the complaint warrants investigation. The objective of the investigation is to determine whether there has been a release of a hazardous substance that may pose a risk to human health or the environment.”

The Camdenton Sludge Disposal Area was designated in 1989 when the former city-owned Hulett Lagoon was closed after 28-years in operation receiving industrial wastewater that contained TCE waste from the Modine Manufacturing facility.

The sludge was then drained, transported and applied to the grassy field owned by the city, though a city employee had notified MDNR back at the time that there were concerns of how the process was handled by the city and its contractor.

“Based on the TCE contamination documented at the Hulett Lagoon site, there was concern that sludge disposed of near the airport could pose a risk to nearby residents if TCE remained in the sludge and was released into the groundwater,” according to MDNR. “Recently the department received new information from a citizen in Camdenton that there may be two additional sludge disposal areas, one a private property very near the airport and the other a private property on the south side of the city limits of Camdenton.”

Superfund staff will look to collaborate information regarding this claim and the investigation may involve sampling if warranted.

“One additional private well in the area has since been tested for TCE. No TCE detected. Since TCE was not detected in the samples of sludge material in 1999, nor was it detected in MoDNR samples of private wells in the area,” MDNR wrote. “MDNR believes the potential for groundwater contamination in the area is very low. We will, however, conduct limited sampling of additional private wells in the area. In addition, if the two other sludge disposal area reports are confirmed there may be additional sampling conducted, including private wells nearby.”

Starting in December 2015, Modine Manufacturing Co. began conducting investigations of TCE releases at the 221 Sunset Drive facility as ordered by the department, focusing on soil, groundwater and vapors inside the building and nearby residential homes.

As of February 2017, 18 residences had completed MDNR’s quarterly sampling program which means they’ve completed four quarters of air, sub-slab or crawl space sampling with responses below the action level and exited from the program.

Hamilton-Sundstrand, parent company of former Sundstrand Tubular Products, is currently addressing related groundwater contamination issues with the former Hulett Lagoon and Mulberry Well under an official agreement with MDNR.

“As a temporary measure to keep the TCE plume contained and not spreading to other city or private wells, a water treatment system was created to aerate the TCE out of the water and into the air,” according to MDNR. “A report from the city coming in August will provide further information for more permanent measures.”

Both Superfund sites are related, but MDNR has two separate sections working closely to coordinate the investigation as well as the corrective and remedial actions and remedies. The Permits Section is managing the former manufacturing building site and the Superfund Section is managing the Hulett Lagoon and Mulberry Well Sites.

MDNR says it has received valuable information from the public, and if anyone has any additional information to share regarding the Camdenton sites, a brief form has been developed for citizens to fill out available here:

What is TCE:

TCE is a non-flammable, colorless liquid with a “somewhat sweet odor and a sweet, burning taste.”

The volatile organic compound, classified by the EPA as carcinogenic to humans, meaning there is evidence for cancer based on kidney cancer, limited evidence for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer.

The chemical is mainly used as an industrial solvent to remove grease from metal parts, but is also found in adhesives and spot removers. TCE is thought to occur naturally in the environment; however, it has been found in underground water sources and many surface waters as a result of the manufacture, use and disposal of the chemical, according to the U.S> Department of Health and Human Services ATSDR.

According to the Center for Disease Control, exposure routes include inhalation, skin absorption, ingestion as well as skin or eye contact. Symptoms include irritated eyes and skin, headache, visual disturbance, weakness or exhaustion, nausea, vomiting and other more serious complications.

How it got here:

According to Camdenton city officials and Missouri Department of Natural Resources, TCE surfaced in the city in 1993. It was traced to a manufacturing plant, Modine Manufacturing and a nearby lagoon. The discovery of the TCE prompted years of study and monitoring. By 1999, the city pulled the Mulberry Street well offline.

The TCE contamination was caused by untreated industrial wastewater from a former manufacturing plant owned and operated by Dawson, Hamilton-Sundstrand and later by Modine Manufacturing Inc. to a city-owned from 1967 to 1987, which infiltrated the city-owned Mulberry Well in the 1990s. The lagoon and well no longer serve the city.

Modine purchased the Sunset Drive facility in August 1990 and continued manufacturing operations until its closure in 2012. For over 25 years investigations by the Missouri Department of Resources, Environmental Protection Agency and consultants hired on behalf of the manufacturers have conducted numerous studies and analyses as well as remedial actions enforced by corrective abatement consent orders that still continue to this day.