MDNR: Sampling verifies TCE dumping on Camden County property in 1970s

CAMDENTON, Mo. -- The state Department of Natural Resources has verified claims from former Dawson Metal Products employees that the company had improperly disposed of a volatile organic compound in the 1970s at a temporary site.

"We were contacted by citizens and interviewed several former employees who reported that waste TCE [trichloroethylene], which is a volatile organic compound used at degreasing operations at the facility was disposed of from the back loading dock door onto the ground for approximately one year," said Valerie Wilder, Superfund Section Chief at the MDNR.

And that's what prompted the DNR to test air and soil inside, outside, and under the facility, which now houses a different company.

"In addition, we also conducted sampling of drinking water wells and springs within one mile of the facility to see if any TCE was detected in any of those wells," Wilder added.

In their findings, the DNR says they found 14 of 23 soil samples, five of 14 air samples from under the building, and eight of 13 indoor air samples contained TCE.

While the sound of that might sound bad, there is good news for the employees at the Laker Company, which is now inside that building.

"Employees at the Laker Company facility on site are currently not being exposed to any TCE above a health-based action level," Wilder said.

There were no traces of TCE in any of those samples, which the city says should give reassurance to the community.

"The biggest thing is that there's been some misinformation, and as the DNR does their work the people will know the facts, and it will be a positive situation," said Jeff Hancock, Camdenton City Administrator.

Wilder says the investigation is ongoing, and more samples will be taken in January.

She also said there could be legal ramifications, but could not comment further.

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