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News Releases from Region 07

EPA Order to Protect Homes in Washington, Mo., from Potentially Harmful Chemical Vapors in Groundwater

Contact Information: 
Chris Whitley (whitley.christopher@epa.gov)

Environmental News


EPA seal(Lenexa, Kan., Aug. 5, 2016) - EPA Region 7 estimates as many as 25 homes in a neighborhood of central Washington, Mo., could ultimately have free protective vapor mitigation systems installed, under terms of an order issued to SV Land, LLC, the owner of a former manufacturing property where industrial chemical solvents have polluted soil and shallow groundwater.

The Sporlan Valve Plant 1 Superfund Site includes a mostly vacant lot at 611 E. 7th Street where a manufacturing facility that produced refrigeration valve parts once stood. A polluted groundwater plume originating from the site has the potential to impact nearby areas, including residential properties.

The Sporlan Valve Company became operational at the site in 1939. Structures at the plant property were demolished in 2011, but sampling by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and EPA has determined that industrial solvents that were used and stored at the facility have contaminated soil and groundwater in the area. Those contaminants include trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene, vinyl chloride and 1,1-DCE.

Groundwater contamination by these solvents can become a concern when vapors migrate up through the ground and accumulate inside homes and other occupied structures at harmful levels, posing health risks. However, vapor mitigation systems (VMS) and related actions, when properly installed and maintained, can effectively protect occupants from such risks. Vapor mitigation involves sealing drains and cracks in basement floors and walls, and installing one or more ventilation fans to draw vapors from crawl spaces and beneath basement slabs, pulling vapors out of the structure and releasing them to outside air where they quickly dissipate.

EPA Region 7 has issued a Unilateral Administrative Order to SV Land, LLC, which purchased the former manufacturing property in 2004, requiring the company to design, install, and confirm the effectiveness of VMS at affected homes in the area. Owners of potentially affected properties have been contacted by EPA. All work will be done at no cost to them.

EPA has scheduled a public meeting to share information and answer questions about plans for the site, including details of the upcoming environmental sampling and VMS installation activities. The meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9, at the Washington City Council Chambers, 405 Jefferson Street, in Washington, Mo., 63090.

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