(KMOV) – Health officials say unidentified ground water contamination has been discovered in the Elmwood Park area in west St. Louis County.
The contamination came from a chemical spill at the Missouri Metals facility in the Elmwood Park neighborhood near Overland in the 1980s.
St. Louis County health officials say the chemical found is TCE, which is used to clean aircraft component parts that were manufactured at the facility. It can cause serious health risks when vaporized in confined areas. It seeps into locations where water may be, such as basins or basements.
Authorities say residents in the Chicago Heights area may be affected, and St. Louis County and federal health officials went door to door until about 1 p.m. Wednesday to determine each homeowner’s risk. Officials said they would be back on site Thursday.
Authorities will then develop a plan of action, part of a process expected to take months.
In Oct. 2012, the company that now owns Missouri Metals, PerkinElmer, Inc., proposed a plan to the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up toxic groundwater and install more ventilation systems in homes with high levels of the toxic vapors.
Those systems have already been installed in several homes.