TCE Contamination meeting in Camdenton

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CAMDENTON - A room that’s usually used for weddings and church services was filled with concerned Camdenton citizens Thursday night. 

Residents and former employees of companies once located in Camdenton sat in padded wedding chairs and listened to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ presentation on the Trichloroethylene, or TCE, contamination in Camdenton. 

TCE is, “a nonflammable toxic liquid used especially as an industrial solvent,” according to Merriam-Webster.

This contamination debate has been on-going since the 1990's, but was recently sparked again because of Camdenton residents' recent push for answers.

Those in attendance were encouraged to ask questions at the end of the presentation and many did. Some expressed concerns about health and safety for their community.

James Gohagan, a Camdenton resident said his wife was diagnosed with Lupus and said it is linked to the TCE contamination. Gohagan is just one of many similar stories from Camdenton residents. MoDNR suggested to the crowd, “everyone speak with their physicians if they are concerned about past exposure,” to TCE.

A representative from MoDNR said, “it takes a scientific approach to see how hazardous chemicals are.”

“Over 1.7 million pounds of liquid contaminant has been dumped into Camdenton since 1987," Gohagan said.

"The fact that those wells have been monitored since for many years, some on a quarterly basis and recently, since 2010, they're monitored on an annual basis. No TCE has been detected in those wells.""MoDNR Superfund Chief Valerie Wilder said.

MoDNR plans to inspect another site next month where former employees claim TCE dumping also occurred.

Wilder said there is no contamination in Camdenton's drinking water and there is nothing that residents should be concerned about. However, she said if she were a Camdenton resident she would keep an eye on the upcoming investigation.

MoDNR will select a group of residents to represent the city on a MoDNR board to discuss these debates and plans to have more meetings.