Business owner waits for TCE vapor test results to be available

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Some in Northwest Springfield are waiting for results from vapor intrusion tests from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to come in. These tests are checking for the presence of Trichloroethylene (TCE).

Don York operates a business from a house not too far from the former Litton Industries site on W. Kearney St. That is where the believed contamination is coming from. The DNR did a vapor intrusion test at his home two weeks ago.

"They agreed to take the vapor samples," York said.

TCE was already found in extremely high amounts in his drinking water. He says the focus is expanding.

"They are going to put two or three shallow wells in to test," York said. "See if it is coming out of the ground on the outside."

York says, Northrop Grumman, which owns the former Litton site, will install wells in the front yard and back yard. Then the DNR will monitor those vapor intrusion wells.

"I don't trust the test, I don't trust what they tell us," York said.

Northrup Grumman has been doing vapor intrustion investigations since April 2017. Those with the company began testing the site and working their way outwards.

Fantastic Caverns also found TCE vapors in extremely high levels in parts of the cave.

"We have a large concentration of it at times in the air in the caverns," Tom Aley, with Ozark Underground Labs, said. "The concentration is as much as 1,200 hundred times greater than the allowable limit in homes."

Aley says vapor testing is key. However, this type of testing is costly. He says Fantastic Caverns have spent a large amount of money to keep the cave safe and open.

"We've got to keep the cave in operation," Aley said. "It's a business that employs a lot of people."

The DNR and Northrup Grumman announced their plan moving forward during the TCE public meeting Thursday. Northrup Grumman promises to add more extraction wells to remove TCE from the ground at the former Litton site. The DNR will continue to monitor the private well water sampling.

"Our partners in this, Northrup Grumman have been working very hard to address the issues," Brian Quinn, with the DNR, said. " We're doing our best to keep people informed."

York expects to receive the vapor intrusion test results back from the DNR any day. He would like to see water services provided to those on private wells impacted by potential TCE contamination. Those with City Utilities tell KY3/ KSPR "it is really too soon to know what the options might be available for that area."