Homeowners ask for well water to be tested for TCE

Published: Nov. 16, 2018 at 8:37 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Many homeowners who live near Fantastic Caverns are wanting to test their well water for trichloroethylene (TCE). A few weeks ago, Fantastic Caverns announced they found extremely high amounts of TCE in parts of the cave.

"I caught the fellas (with the Department of Natural Resouces) out working along the road," Kirk Hansen, neighbor, said. "I asked them what my exposure was to this and he told me that the levels they were finding were low."

Still, Hansen asked for his water to be tested. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) tested his water Thursday. In fact, they are offering free testing for those with a private well in the area. Because TCE is a toxic carcinogen that can affect your nervous system, liver and kidneys.

So far, those with DNR say they have tested 74 wells. 13 wells have shown traces of TCE. Only one well has shown elevated levels of the contaminant.

Those with DNR say the problem traces back to the former Litton's facility on Kearney. They manufactured circuit boards for years. They say the facility generated "wastes containing metals, predominantly copper, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), predominantly trichloroethylene (TCE)." Now it is believed this could affect people within 30 sq. miles of the old facility.

"That is a lot of homes, a lot of wells and all of those businesses built out there by the airport are right next door to this site," Hansen said. "The guy from DNR told me that during times of the year these TCE fumes actually rise."

Officials with DNR told KY3 in an email they do not believe air quality is affected inside homes and businesses.

"... there is no likely risk to houses and businesses from indoor air contamination from TCE in groundwater."

Hansen is hoping that is the case.

"Hopefully there is not an issue," Hansen said.

If you would like your well tested you can contact the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Superfund Section by phone at 573-751-4187 or by email at