Residents consider lawsuits after toxic groundwater found in north St. Louis County

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by Russell Kinsaul / News 4 and KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on August 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 16 at 1:48 PM

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV) -- Lawsuits could be flying soon over a chemical contamination discovered in a north St. Louis County neighborhood.

The Simmons Law Firm was scheduled to hold a meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday with residents of the Elmwood Park neighborhood near Page and Dielman.

It all stems from an industrial spill at nearby company Missouri Metals LLC  in 1988. The chemical that spilled is Trichloroethylene (TCE) and is most commonly used as a degreaser for metal parts.  It can lead to chronic disease and cancer.

This past spring the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducted testing on seven houses and three apartments near the metals company. All 10 homes showed positive tests for TCE and three homes showed elevated levels. Those three homes are part of the St. Louis Housing Authority.

Levels once considered safe are now considered unsafe, according to officials.

The state of Missouri has known about contamination in the neighborhood for more than a decade, but the residents weren’t told about it until earlier this month.

The DNR attempted several methods to eliminate the TCE in the ground since 1994, but none of them worked.  So the TCE contamination still exists near Missouri Metals LLC and the DNR and EPA are working on a solution to eliminate it.

News 4’s Russell Kinsaul is talking with the law firm and residents on Thursday and will have all the details of their conversation coming up on News 4 at 5 and KMOV.com.

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