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Henderson city officials: Chemicals found in groundwater by Shamrock Technologies

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 7:20 PM CST
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HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - Henderson city officials learned Shamrock Technologies has reported that it found a chemical called PFAS in soil and groundwater around its facilities and reported it to state environmental leaders.

PFAS are a group of chemicals that are found in items like food packaging, fabrics, cleaning products.

”It’s a fairly common substance, but it doesn’t have a lot of regulation around it,” Henderson Mayor Steve Austin said.

Henderson city officials say PFAS has been linked in recent years to health concerns, particularly because they break down very slowly and can build up in the environment, humans and animals. Mayor Austin wanted to ensure that the city’s drinking water was safe.

“We got real active in checking our water, double-checking everything making sure we had no problems at all in our drinking water and in fact we didn’t have any,” Austin said.

He says they did not believe it was a big concern because the drinking water was safe.

“We didn’t make a big deal out of it because there was no problem with our water,” Austin said.

The mayor says the city is now in the process of forming a working group to help better understand PFAS chemicals and how they could affect the community.

”I think the goal is to be better educated on the PFA, PFE issues,” Austin said. “Find out more about what the contact situation is, how does it move around and how do people get in contact with it, and what we can do to make it the best situation that we can.”

Thursday, Shamrock sent a statement to 14 News:

Shamrock Technologies has always been committed to acting as a responsible and constructive member of the Henderson community. In 2018, we discovered the presence of PFAS in and around all three of our facilities. We quickly reported this to the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Since then, we have been working closely with the DEP to determine the extent of the presence of PFAS.

Per our Agreed Order with the DEP, we have completed air-emission testing of our mill and scrubber stacks to determine levels of PFAS release. We have also completed air dispersion modeling to determine potential areas of contamination. We have conducted on-site (at all three of our Henderson facilities) testing of the soil, surface and ground water; and we have conducted off-site testing of the soil, surface and groundwater up to a radius of one half-mile from each facility to characterize the extent of any contamination. We are currently performing additional testing of the soil, surface and ground water up to one mile away from our facilities toward the Ohio River.

The DEP will coordinate when and how these test results are released. Shamrock Technologies supports openness and transparency. The information we submit to the DEP becomes part of the public record. Copies can be obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request. We will also collaborate with the DEP on any steps necessary to address, contain or remove contaminants.

It’s important to note that the United States Environmental Protection Agency has established guidelines for acceptable levels of PFAS in the environment. To date, DEP testing has found no instances of PFAS exceeding those levels in municipal drinking water or private drinking-water wells.

At Shamrock Technologies, our people and their families work and live in this community. Their safety and their neighbors’ safety are our top priorities. We look forward to continuing to work with the DEP on this case, and we look forward to continuing to act as a positive presence in our community.

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