A total of three former employees were interviewed to corroborate the claim of alleged dumping at the temporary location from 1972 to 1973, including a degreaser operator.

The alleged dumping of a chemical contaminant found in the Camdenton water supply in the late 1990s may have occurred at a temporary location used by a former manufacturer in the early 1970s.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund Department and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) have been investigating reports of the alleged dumping of trichloroethylene (TCE) - a volatile organic compound that has been linked to kidney, liver and other cancers - at a building located 1225 U.S. Highway 54 within city limits.

The property currently occupied by the Laker Fishing Tackle Company reportedly served as a temporary operations facility for Dawson Metal Products after a fire occurred on July 10, 1972, at their main facility at 221 Sunset Drive.

The investigation was launched in late July after former employees of Dawson - and later Sundstrand and Modine Manufacturing upon purchasing or leasing the property - reported claims of TCE dumping at locations other than the Sunset Drive facility and the former Hulett Lagoon where the contaminants had been discovered in the past.

MDNR conducted a site visit in August 2017 and plans to sample the site for an official Site Inspection in October 2017 that would include collecting soil, groundwater, surface water, indoor air, sub slab vapor and private well samples, according to MDNR.

According to a Pre-Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act — also known as Superfund — screening report released last week, “Based on descriptions provided by former employees of the degreasing and disposal operations that took place at the DMPF #2 building from July 1972 through July 1973, a substantial mass of TCE may have been released directly to the ground surface infiltrating to soil and groundwater at the site.”

Former Dawson employees indicated to investigators that one half of a 55-gallon drum of TCE was disposed of per shift with two shifts running six days per week. The document concludes it is therefore possible that as much as 17,000 gallons of the toxic degreasing solution may have been released into the environment over the course of the year.

Investigators are now concerned about the potential for TCE intrusion into the building as a result of the historic releases and the safety of the current business' 21 employees. A total of three former employees were interviewed to corroborate the claim of alleged dumping at the temporary location from 1972 to 1973, including a degreaser operator.

According to documents within the assessment, Missouri Geological Survey (MGS) databases show a record of nine public drinking water wells and 65 private drinking water wells within 1.5 miles of the DMPF #2 building on US 54.

“Based on the available information, there is a threat of release of TCE into the environment,” according to the decision rationale. “MoDNR recommends entry onto the Superfund Active Site Inventory and further assessment under CERCLA.”

Superfund investigators are also looking 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 after a former employee had notified MDNR of possible concerns related to the removal and transportation of toxic sludge from the former Hulett Lagoon when it was closed in 1989.

A public meeting has been scheduled by MDNR for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, at the Exchange to update citizens on the status of various investigations related to TCE contamination in Camdenton.

According to the agenda, MDNR will discuss the status of sites and future actions, information available on its website and the benefits of forming a community advisory board. The floor will then be opened up to a question and answer session with a Department of Health and Senior Services official followed by an availability session with MDNR.