Cleanup plans presented for contaminated St. Louis neighborhood - KMOV.com

Cleanup plans presented for contaminated St. Louis neighborhood

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

ELMWOOD (KMOV) - The EPA explained plans to clean up toxic chemicals in a north St. Louis County community Thursday night.

The contamination came from the Missouri Metals facility in the Elmwood neighborhood near Overland.

One of the chemicals, TCE - used to clean aircraft component parts that were manufactured at the facility, can cause serious health risks when vaporized in confined areas.

KMOV found a 1981 memo that revealed the state knew about those chemicals for decades before telling Elmwood residents.

The company that now owns Missouri Metals, PerkinElmer, Inc., has proposed a plan to the EPA to clean up toxic groundwater and install more ventilation systems in homes with high levels of the toxic vapors.

"We have data that shows in different homes where the levels are of concern," said Chris Whitley, EPA spokesperson.  "We have to act quickly and we want to act quickly to make sure it's addressed."

While residents are in favor of plans to clean up the chemicals, they worry about the contamination's continued impact on their health.

"I'm concerned about how they're going to clean us up," said Elmwood resident Alice Glenn.  "What are they going to do about the residents of Elmwood?"

The EPA says the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will work with residents on health concerns while the EPA will focus on finalizing a cleanup plan with PerkinElmer.

The EPA is taking public comment on PerkinElmer's plans until November 19.  You can read more about them and submit a comment here:
www.epa.gov/region7/cleanup/chicago_heights

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