A new investigation of another potential TCE contamination site in Camdenton is at a documentation review stage and may not go beyond that depending on what records reveal.

A new investigation of another potential TCE contamination site in Camdenton is at a documentation review stage and may not go beyond that depending on what records reveal.

With a now decades-old Superfund site at 221 Sunset Drive, Camdenton continues to see former employees of the defunct manufacturing facility come forward with concerns about other potential contamination sites from the commonly-used industrial solvent trichloroethylene. TCE is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that is a recognized carcinogen with potential human health hazards for non-cancer toxicity to the central nervous system, kidney, liver, immune system, male reproductive system and the developing fetus.

Local interest in the old Superfund site was renewed with new testing at homes near the old manufacturing facility at 221 Sunset Drive and the plant itself a coupe of years ago. The impetus for new testing was a recognition of a gap in data related to relatively new evaluation guidelines on vapor intrusion from the Environmental Protection Agency.

At the time of the initial testing of the site, water was the main concern for transmission, but now indoor air is also a concern.

Among other ongoing investigations, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) recently began investigating the potential for contamination at an old city lagoon now covered by the Camdenton Treatment Plant.

The likelihood that this site is contaminated appears relatively low however as a pre-treatment process for TCE was in place at the time wastewater was diverted to the lagoon for a span of 18 months from December 1987 to June 1989.

After City Lagoon #3 was found to be contaminated in the mid-1990s and was designated as a Superfund site under the federal Superfund Act of 1986, that lagoon was shut down and wastewater was diverted via a lift station to what is now being called the Camdenton Treatment Plant Lagoon (CTPL). The CTPL was a two-cell lagoon, half o which is now under the city’s wastewater plant. Part of the other cell is under the city’s stormwater retention pond and the other part is just open field.

According to MDNR Superfund Section Chief Valerie Wilder, the state agency is reviewing documentation from that time period as well as consulting with former employees who have knowledge of the pre-treatment process of the manufacturer at that time. If the pre-treatment process is found to have been adequate, the investigation could end there if it is not believed sampling is warranted.

This is at least the third new investigation that has arisen in the last two years after renewed testing at the original facility and the subsequent organization of a citizens advisory committee which has helped raise awareness and bring information forward.

Another potential site was investigated at the Camdenton airport after a report from a former city employee that sludge from the contaminated City Lagoon #3 was dumped there. TCE was not found in the water wells in the vicinity though, and Wilder previously explained that as a VOC, it was possible that the TCE evaporated from the soil during transport from the lagoon to the dump site.

With remnants of distrust between impacted citizens and the City of Camdenton, the municipal water system annual testing was also conducted by MDNR earlier this year. City water was found to be clean.

One new investigation did lead to the identification of a new contamination site however.

Last year, 1225 US Highway 54, Camdenton, was found to have actionable levels of TCE in sub-slab soil samples from the loading dock area of the building. Indoor air concentrations of TCE and other VOCs did not exceed health-based action levels though and there was no TCE detected in either two outdoor air samples or in water wells within one mile. The facility has been recommended for Superfund status.

This facility was used as a temporary operating site for the 221 Sunset Drive manufacturer after a fire at the main facility in July 1972. The temporary site was only used about one year.

Further sampling and testing at 1225 US Highway 54 is now ongoing.

A Superfund site is any land contaminated by hazardous waste, as identified through the EPA, and designated for cleanup because of the risk to human health and/or the environment.