Bella Vista Residents React To Former Stump Dump Air Quality Findings

BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KFSM) — The National Guard air quality results show that the air in residential areas around the former stump dump is within healthy standards, but some residents say they don't believe it.

The Arkansas National Guard spent three days testing three separate areas near the former stump dump on Trafalgar Road and the results say that the toxic fumes aren't a public health concern.

The results found low levels of two toxins. Hydrogen Cyanid was found at all three of the locations and Carbon Monoxide was found at one of them.

"They just need to put the fire out," said resident Brittany Jones.  "Whether it's toxic or not, at this point I don't even care if they admit they are wrong or admit that they are right, it doesn't matter the fire needs to be put out."

Jones says her five-year-old son hasn't been able to go back to school since November.

"Between it being sick season and the constant smoke exposure, whether it's toxic or not as far as he goes, any type of smoke exposure is going to be harmful to him. Since then we've had a couple hospital stays," Jones said.

Department of Health Epidemiologist, Dr. Dirk Haselow, says this data is reassuring that there will not be long term health effects. He also says the data doesn't take into account that there can be spikes in the air, just like walking around a campfire.

"Some individuals may have respiratory symptoms when they are around a campfire and most people should interpret what's going on like that," said Dr. Haselow. "That there can still be people who are sensitive with symptoms."

Chris Nelson doesn't agree with the results because the National Guard only tested for eight hours a day, which he says doesn't paint an accurate picture of what he and his neighbors are living with.

He says that the smoke is worse early in the morning and late at night.

"They can do all the testing in the world but it's not solving anything, it's really a waste of taxpayers money," Nelson said. "Putting the fire out would be the best use of the taxpayer money. Seven months of living in this, how much longer are we going to wait for a plan. That tells me they really don't have a plan."

The Governor is expected to sign a bill that gives $20 million to help put out the fire. ADEQ is working with EnSafe on how to put the fire out, but there has been no timeline on when that will be happening.

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