According to Wilder, no detectible levels of Trichloroethylene, more commonly known as TCE, were found in the samples taken around Camdenton Memorial Lake Regional Airport. DNR had opened an investigation this summer into the Camdenton Sludge Disposal Area located in a field north of Forbes Road at the end of the airport runway.

A new investigation into possible chemical contamination of soil at the Camdenton airport has indicated the site to be clean.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Superfund Section Chief Valerie Wilder discussed the test results briefly during a CITCAT (Camdenton Industrial Trichloroethylene Contamination Advisory Team) meeting Tuesday evening in Camdenton.
According to Wilder, no detectible levels of Trichloroethylene, more commonly known as TCE, were found in the samples taken around Camdenton Memorial Lake Regional Airport. DNR had opened an investigation this summer into the Camdenton Sludge Disposal Area located in a field north of Forbes Road at the end of the airport runway.
A former municipal public works employee had raised awareness of possible contamination at the site from a past use of the location to clean out one of the city’s lagoons known to be contaminated with TCE as part of its closure.
Officials on hand at the CITCAT meeting advised the group that it is possible that the TCE in the sludge removed to the airport site had evaporated during transport.
In October 2017, DNR collected samples from 11 private drinking water wells and one public drinking water well within one-half mile of the site and two additional private wells several miles away to establish background levels of naturally occurring metals. No VOCs were detected in any of the water samples.
Testing in 1999 by DNR found no TCE in the soil at the sludge disposal site at the airport.
An industrial solvent, TCE is a volatile organic compound (VOC) which means it is a chemical that readily evaporates into the air. TCE evaporates more readily than water.
Long-term exposure to TCE can cause potential effects to the immune system and potential increased risk for certain cancers such as kidney, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and liver, according to MDNR. Exposure does not necessarily mean that health effects will occur as its effect it dependent on a variety of factors. How a person is exposed, how much they are exposed to and how often and for how long they are exposed being significant components.
The original source of the TCE is a now defunct manufacturing facility at 221 Sunset Drive. Manufacturing was done at this location from at least 1967 to 2012 by first Dawson Metal Products, Sundstrand Tubular Products Inc. and Modine Heat Transfer Inc.
The plant is a federally-qualified Superfund site after past investigations revealed contamination at the facility with TCE levels above maximum levels set by the EPA. The facility is located adjacent to a residential area that has been impacted by the contamination through vapors and soil gas. Mitigation efforts have been undertaken to purify the air at certain houses as actionable levels have been found through ongoing testing.
A city well on Mulberry Street was also contaminated and no longer serves customers, but is pumped for TCE stripping to keep the TCE in the ground around the area from growing and further impacting ground water.
While the airport site was found to be clean, another location also tested in a new round of investigations was found to have TCE contamination in the soil at what is now being called Dawson Metal Products Camdenton Facility #2. This location at 1225 US Highway 54 operated for just one year around 1972 when a fire at the Sunset Drive plant led to the temporary relocation of manufacturing processes.
TCE was detected in 14 of 23 soil samples taken from the site in August 2017. TCE breakdown products, including cis-1,2-dichloroethene and vinyl chloride, were also detected in many of those samples, according to DNR.
This investigation was the result of a former plant employee coming forward with information that TCE had been disposed out of the back door of this location, and the contamination was found in the loading dock area.
While the property — now owned by Dickerson Building, LLC and currently occupied by Laker Fishing Tackle Company — has TCE contamination in the ground, the DNR investigation did not indicate any current surface exposure threat to human health.
TCE was not detected in the outdoor air, and indoor air concentrations of TCE and other VOCs in the building did not exceed health-based action levels. DNR also collected samples from private and public drinking water wells within one mile of this site, and no VOCs were detected.
Wilder indicated that DNR is in negotiations with an unnamed party to take responsibility for the newly-discovered contamination site that has been recommended for the federal Superfund program. Under the Superfund, the party found responsible for the contamination — if they are still in existence — would pay for certain testing and cleanup under specific terms negotiated between the entity and the government.
During the CITCAT meeting, concerns were raised of an additional site, but according to Wilder, no detailed credible information for an exact site to test has been relayed to DNR so no further investigations into more new sites are planned at this time.
Further testing is planned at the Dawson #2 site, the former city lagoon that served the factory and at the plant itself after more contamination of the original site was discovered in recent months. No further investigations are planned at the airport. A remediation plan is under discussion for Mulberry Well, according to Wilder, though she would not say exactly what that could entail.
All of this and more was discussed during the CITCAT meeting, and the Lake Sun will continue to follow TCE investigations as they develop.
The members of CITCAT are working to review the proposed work plans. New testing at the lagoon is scheduled to begin around the end of January.
Distrust of testing paid for by the manufacturer — Hamilton/Sundstrand — and of DNR and the City of Camdenton after years of dealing with ongoing TCE problems and contamination at one point of city water led some citizens to request independent testing to verify results of upcoming studies. While there is no funding available for this testing, Wilder said there is an extensive chain of custody and blind sampling required of the consultant hired by Hamilton/Sundstrand to do the testing, and DNR also random samples their work for quality assurance.
CITCAT members and DNR are also looking into possibly allowing members of the advisory team to observe some sampling and testing to help rebuild trust and assure themselves that testing is being done properly.
The City of Camdenton has also agreed to allow DNR officials to collect the samples from its drinking water system for its annual test in hopes of proving to its residents that city water is clean.
It should be noted that Hamilton Sundstrand is the parent company of Sundstrand Tubular Products that helped bring better handling and disposal practices to the plant after Hamilton Standard took over Sundstrand Tubular.