Whirlpool Purposes Final Plan

It’s been a controversial issue since a chemical used at the old Fort Smith Whirlpool plant was found last year to have contaminated a large area around the plant.

This week, the company has submitted a final plan to take care of the groundwater pollution.

Whirlpool has hired environmental consultants who have released the plan to help decrease the amount of harmful chemical trichloroethylene in the area.

The plan says the company will help reduce pollution levels in groundwater near the plant to meet risk limit objectives. The actions would also reduce pollution levels in off-site groundwater.

Whirlpool also aims to pump chemicals into the ground to help reduce the amount of trichloroethylene. Those impacted by the spill say despite whirlpools efforts they’re frustrated and want their problems resolved.

“I don’t believe any of it,” said Whirlpool neighbor, Sarah Winters. “I’m still not going to believe any of it. I wake up every day feeling like I’m dying. I feel like I have the flu all the time, I don’t like it.”

A former whirlpool employee of 35 years said his home was recently appraised. And that the value has tanked.

“They said it was $21,000 so it’s half of what it was,” said former Whirlpool employee, Raymond Flowers.

Town officials said they recognize the public’s concerns and are taking the purposed plan seriously.

“I want to make sure that they are making progress, that it is not lip service and that it’s genuine,” said Fort Smith Director, Philip Merry.

Merry said what Whirlpool left should have been left better or at least equal.

The document also said the proposed plan will be discussed at a public forum in August.

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