Whirlpool Corp. to test for toxic chemical at Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club property


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FORT SMITH, Arkansas — Whirlpool Corp. is seeking additional testing for toxic chemicals near the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club based on new contamination findings.

Company spokesman Jeff Noel told youth club directors that the company is seeking permission to test for trichloroethylene, the Southwest Times Record (http://bit.ly/1zT1fC3 ) reported. The chemical, also known as TCE, is linked to increased cancer risks.

Noel said monitoring wells installed earlier this year detected contamination under a neighborhood north of the now-closed Whirlpool plant, prompting his request for new testing.

"Basically, of those five monitoring wells, three did show levels of TCE in the groundwater," Noel said. "There was no detection of TCE in the soils."

He said further testing is needed to determine if contaminants migrated under a road and onto the club property.

"This is all a matter of getting access agreements so we can do the testing and very quickly get the results, compile a report, come back and share that," Noel said.

Boys & Girls Club executive director Jerry Glidewell the club's board has agreed to approve environmental testing at the Evans location, which is used for baseball and soccer. Test results are expected in early September.

Whirlpool is also seeking permission to install additional testing equipment in Fort Worth.

The company's former plant in Fort Smith used trichloroethylene as a degreasing solvent from the 1960s through the early 1980s, before it was known to be toxic. The chemical was used in the northwest corner of the property, where the contamination was initially discovered.

Information from: Southwest Times Record, http://www.swtimes.com/

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