Erin Brockovich

Erin and her Environmental Investigator Bob Bowcock met with the Fort Smith community on Tuesday evening to hear concerns relating to the contamination of groundwater in a south Fort Smith neighborhood.

According to Whirlpool, the company who had a plant in south Fort Smith, a plume of trichloroethylene, or TCE, a known carcinogen, has been found in groundwater at the plant’s site and under two dozen nearby homes.

Whirlpool began using the chemical trichloroethylene in 1967 as a degreaser. Whirlpool has said they discontinued using TCE in 1981, but it wasn’t until 2001 that the company became aware the contamination had spread beyond its property.

Bob Bowcock tested the subject area on Monday and Tuesday.

“I will tell you that the Whirlpool site as it sits today is in violation of the Clean Water Act, like you’ve never seen before,” he said. “Somebody needs to come out there and do some corrective actions on that property as it exists today. If I look at the deed, I think it still says Whirlpool on it, and I guarantee their pollution came into your community during the last rainstorm. It’s leaking off there today. I saw it.”

Image by Michael Woods NWA Online