City of Henderson hosts first PFAS Working Group Meeting

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 6:19 AM CST
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HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - The city of Henderson hosted its very first PFAS Working Group meeting Monday.

Officials said the meeting was held to announce group members, get organized and to receive information from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet regarding potential impacts of Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances.

PFAS is the type of chemical city officials say was found in the soil and groundwater at a local company.

“The city of Henderson and the PFAS Working Group share the concerns of the community,” said Donna B. Stinnett, the city’s public information officer. “As public servants, our number one priority is to protect the health and safety of all citizens.”

According to a press release, City Commissioner Brad Staton will serve as chair of the PFAS Working Group.

Joining Staton are: Brenna Caudill, Velvet Dowdy, Eric Gardner, Kaycee Garner, Deborah Hoda, Clayton Horton (Green River District Health Department director), Monty Parrish, Chad Phillips, Greg Pritchett (Henderson County Riverport director), Kevin Roberts (Henderson Water Utility), Tim Southard (Henderson County magistrate), Donna B. Stinnett, Missy Vanderpool (Henderson Economic Development), Austin Vowels (City of Henderson commissioner), Tom Williams (HWU).

They said going forward, the PFAS Working Group will hold regular meetings open to the public and will continue to share relevant findings and important information through the City of Henderson’s dedicated PFAS Resources and Updates webpage, social media and regular public notices.

At the meeting, representatives from Shamrock and the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection.

Back in 2018, Shamrock Technologies performed some ground water tests.

“That was the first time we had run those tests,” said Director of Shamrock Manufacturing Michael Jussila. “We were looking at a possible transaction with a company, so we were doing some environmental sampling at our sites.”

Those tests showed the presence of PFAS in the ground water.

They reported their findings to the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection, which Commissioner Tony Hatton said showed a high concentration.

“There is currently a 70 parts per trillion health advisory for PFAS in ground water,” Hatton said. “Obviously, the concentrations found in some cases greatly exceed the health advisory.”

Hatton also said PFAS are mostly concerning in drinking water.

He said their 2019 studies of Henderson’s water plants did show some contamination, but only at the level of four to six parts per trillion.

“I do not believe in any way shape, form or fashion that what we’re seeing at the water plant is the result of an issues related to Shamrock,” said Hatton.

He said further studies showed that the ground water contaminated by Shamrock is not being consumed by anyone.

That information compounded with a hazard index that Hatton says shows low risk of health effects from some exposure means that they’re comfortable not taking more drastic measures.

These studies have been going on for years now, and Shamrock is nearing the end of the process of determining where there is contamination and at what concentration.

Jussila said they’ll soon move on to planning how to remove the contamination.

“We’re looking at installing control equipment, and we’re looking at some process modifications,” Jussila said. “That’s some of the stuff that we’re looking to go to the state with in the beginning of the year.”

Neither Shamrock or the Department of Environmental Protection can give a timeline on the cleanup effort, they just say it’s going to be a long process.

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 6.

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