More test­ing planned at stump dump

EPA sched­uled to col­lect air sam­ples at burn­ing Bella Vista site next week

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - MIKE JONES AND TRACY NEAL

BELLA VISTA — The fed­eral En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency will col­lect more air sam­ples next week in con­nec­tion with a stump dump fire, ac­cord­ing to an agency news re­lease.

The un­der­ground fire along Trafal­gar Road is on a site where the Bella Vista Prop­erty Owners As­so­ci­a­tion op­er­ated a stump dump for about 13 years. Fire Depart­ment per­son­nel said the fire may be burn­ing more than 50 or 60 feet un­der­ground.

Fire Chief Steve Sims pre­vi­ously said fire­fight­ers were ini­tially dis­patched to the area July 29, where they spot­ted smoke and what ap­peared to be the re­mains of a brush fire. The prop­erty is owned by Brown’s Tree Care.

There were no con­trolled burns listed in the dis­patch log, he said, and the prop­erty owner de­nies burn­ing brush.

Mayor Peter Christie and Sims met via phone to dis­cuss the is­sue Tues­day with U.S. Sen. John Booz­man, R-Ark., 3rd Dis­trict Rep. Steve Wo­mack, R-Rogers, Becky Keogh with the Arkansas Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity, and Anne Id­sal, Troy Lyons and David Gray with the EPA, said Cassi Lapp, city spokes­woman, on Fri­day.

The EPA will col­lect more air sam­ples, in­clud­ing par­tic­u­lates, next week. The data gath­ered will help sci­en­tists and de­ci­sion-mak­ers bet­ter de­ter­mine if the stump dump con­tains dan­ger­ous chem­i­cals. EPA sam­pling is

sched­uled to be­gin Mon­day and will in­clude three days of sam­pling. The EPA ex­pects to re­ceive the sam­pling data Dec. 21, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease is­sued Thurs­day from Gray, the deputy re­gional ad­min­is­tra­tor for EPA Re­gion 6. The re­gion in­cludes Louisiana, Arkansas, Ok­la­homa, New Mex­ico and Texas.

The EPA col­lected 24-hour air sam­ples from five lo­ca­tions around the Brown Tree Ser­vice prop­erty Oct. 1 and Nov. 10. The agency tested for hun­dreds of chem­i­cals as­so­ci­ated with land­fill fires po­ten­tially con­tain­ing con­struc­tion de­bris, house­hold waste or tires. None of the air sam­ples showed el­e­vated con­cen­tra­tions of chem­i­cals of con­cern in the com­mu­nity, the re­lease stated.

The EPA also col­lected sam­ples from a lo­ca­tion on the Brown Tree Ser­vice prop­erty and found a low level of ben­zene on Nov. 10, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. The Amer­i­can Cancer So­ci­ety says ben­zene is a col­or­less, flammable liq­uid with a sweet odor and it evap­o­rates quickly when ex­posed to air. The chem­i­cal is a nat­u­ral part of crude oil and gaso­line, as well as de­ter­gents, drugs and pes­ti­cides.

Stu­art Spencer, as­so­ciate di­rec­tor of the of­fice of air qual­ity at the Arkansas Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity, told res­i­dents at Dec. 1 meet­ing the pres­ence of ben­zene sug­gests there’s trash in the for­mer dump and not just yard waste.

The EPA agreed to have an ex­pe­ri­enced fire ex­pert ad­vise the state and com­mu­nity re­gard­ing the prop­er­ties of the fire and rec­om­men­da­tions on op­tions to ex­tin­guish the fire quickly and with the low­est pos­si­ble en­vi­ron­men­tal and pub­lic health con­se­quences, the re­lease sated.

The EPA also has agreed to pro­vide sci­en­tific ex­per­tise to as­sist the state Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity in de­ter­min­ing which ben­zene-sens­ing tech­nol­ogy is avail­able if needed, the re­lease stated.

Curtis and Tif­fany Ma­comber, who live near the dump site, have sued Brown Tree Ser­vice and John Does 1-3 in con­nec­tion with the stump dump fire. The law­suit was filed last week in Ben­ton County Cir­cuit Court. It claims con­tin­ued smoke from the site has cre­ated a hazardous

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