Whirlpool to Test Soil Near Former Fort Smith Plant

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Whirlpool said it was take soil gas samples in the neighborhood surrounding its former plant in Fort Smith.

There are concerns that the chemical trichloroethylen (TCE) may be a health risk to those living near the plant site. Whirlpool has been working with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Equality to clean up a toxic plume left over when the company closed the plant.

Soil samples will be taken in several areas in the surrounding neighborhood, said Katherine Benenati, a spokeswoman with the ADEQ.

“We certainly approve of this step and look forward to reviewing the results,” Benenati said. “It will show if additional measures need to be taken.”

Benenati said studies have shown that TCE levels do not pose a threat to the groundwater in the area. The soil samples will help confirm that and also if the TCE has spread through the ground.