Trichloroethylene Vapor Mitigation Systems Installed in Elmwood Park
Early this year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began installing venting systems in houses in the Elmwood Park and Chicago Heights Boulevard neighborhoods near Olivette and Overland, Missouri. These safety measures come after the EPA and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) detected contaminated groundwater and chemical vapors in the neighborhood. The contamination is a result of tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) spills or dumping that occurred in the 1980’s at an industrial property at 9970 Page Avenue. At the time, the property was owned by Missouri Metals. The property was purchased by EG&G Missouri Metal Shaping in the late 80’s. The current owner is PerkinElmer, who purchased the property in 1998.
Venting systems are being installed free of charge to houses and apartments in areas south of Meeks Boulevard, west of Dielman Road, and north of the railroad line that runs south of Chicago Heights Boulevard and along Elmridge Place. Venting systems address only vapors that may seep into homes, particularly basements. They do not address potentially contaminated groundwater, however, PerkinElmer disputes whether the groundwater is contaminated.
Unsafe levels of TCE have been found in multiple homes in the community. TCE exposure is known to cause heart and kidney problems and has been linked to liver and kidney cancer, leukemia, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. PCE exposure causes neurological problems and has been linked to increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, and is a probable human carcinogen.