Washington City Council Chambers

A public meeting is scheduled in Washington to present the next steps for the old Sporlan Valve plant site now that its cleanup has become a priority.

During a Washington City Council workshop, Washington Emergency Management Director Mark Skornia said the meeting is open to the public and it will detail the time line of the cleanup process and explain the steps. 

“So everybody has a clear idea of how the process works,” Skornia said.

The meeting will be July 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Washington KC Hall in the lower level, located at 1121 Columbus Lane. It will be hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and include technical assistance resources and a site update. Following presentations, EPA and state agency representatives will be available to discuss the site.

In May, the EPA announced that the Sporlan Plant was added to the Superfund Program’s National Priorities List (NPL), that could expedite cleanup. The Sporlan Valve Plant 1 Superfund Site is located at 611 E. Seventh St.

The city has been meeting with legislators in an effort to get the property on the NPL. Being named to the list is just the first phase of remediation.

At the site is a trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination that must be studied and then cleaned.

Skornia explained that the EPA has shown TCE groundwater contamination and vapors in homes. 

“The long-term goal is to get the water and soil cleaned up and ultimately return the property to residential,” he said.

On Monday, Public Works Superintendent Kevin Quaethem told council members that soil contamination has no impact on the health of residents.

“None of this has affected the city deep wells,” he said. “All of the water supply is safe.”

The NPL includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination, according to the EPA. 

The list serves as the basis for prioritizing EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions. Only sites included on the NPL are eligible for extensive, long-term response action money authorized by Congress under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as the Superfund law.

Inclusion of the site on the NPL guarantees the public an opportunity to participate in cleanup decisions. Affected communities also become eligible for technical assistance resources to help understand technical documents and promote community involvement.

Sporlan Site

The site was first developed as a refrigeration valve manufacturing facility in 1939. TCE was used at the facility as a degreaser and industrial solvent. 

A release of TCE to the ground occurred, potentially over several decades, resulting in contaminated soil and groundwater beneath the facility. TCE has been detected in groundwater, soil gas, and indoor air surrounding the site.

The leak was discovered between 2003 and 2006. Parker Hannifin was in the process of purchasing Sporlan and environmental assessments were done on the site.

Parker Hannifin ultimately did not purchase the site. SV Land, LLC purchased the property in December 2004 and the building was torn down in 2011.

Once the TCE was detected on the site, SV Land joined a voluntary cleanup program run by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Five monitoring wells were installed near the site to monitor the area for TCE and other contaminants in the air.

TCE is the primary contaminant of concern at the site. Exposure to TCE poses potential human health hazards to the central nervous system, kidney, liver, immune system, male reproductive system, and developing fetus.