FORT SMITH, Arkansas — A toxic chemical found in the groundwater at the site of a Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club near a Whirlpool former plant does not pose a health risk, according to company spokesman Jeff Noel.
The company announced the results of its summer testing on Thursday, the Times Record reported (http://bit.ly/1sOvNAn ). Whirlpool's former plant in Fort Smith used trichloroethylene, now known to be linked to increased cancer risk, as a degreasing solvent from the 1960s through the early 1980s.
Samples taken from five monitoring wells installed this year on the company's property showed that the chemical was detected in groundwater at three wells, but not in the soil, according to environmental consulting firm Environ.
Mike Ellis of Environ told the state's department of environmental quality in a letter there was "limited TCE impact" only in the groundwater at a corner of the Boys & Girls Club.
The youth club's executive director, Jerry Glidewell, said the chemical was found on an undeveloped edge of the property that will be separated by planned road construction. Glidewell said the testing detected the chemical in one out of nine groundwater samples. It was not found in the soil or surface water.
"We are pleased that the results found no health risk to anyone using the Boys & Girls Club facilities," Glidewell said in a statement.
Four permanent contamination-monitoring wells are planned for the youth club's site. Noel said the company wants to work with the Boys & Girls Club and state environmental officials to regularly take samples to share with them.
The company is also in the midst of a state-approved cleanup plan at the site.
Information from: Southwest Times Record, http://www.swtimes.com/
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