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EPA to Discuss Investigation into Dallas Chemical Leak

The agency will address its plan to clean an industrial site that is leaking cancer-causing chemicals and contaminating approximately 80 homes in the predominantly low-income neighborhood of North Texas.

The Environmental Protection Agency will address its plan to clean an industrial site leaking cancer-causing chemicals to dozens of Grand Prairie, Texas, homes this week.

The agency has scheduled a public meeting Thursday to discuss its investigation of the site, abatement strategy and timeline.

Roughly 80 homes in the predominantly low-income Burbank Gardens neighborhood are contaminated by toxic chemicals discarded by defense contractor Delfasco Forge. In 2018, the 1.1-acre property was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List, which includes some of the nation’s most-polluted sites.

Tests have shown that trichloroethylene, or TCE, which is a degreaser, contaminated the soil, bled into the groundwater and vaporized into the air. Delfasco Forge — which made practice bombs for the Navy and Air Force and machinery during the 1980s and ’90s — used TCE to clean equipment.

In addition to causing cancer, TCE can cause heart defects in developing fetuses and damage the liver, kidneys, respiratory, immune and central nervous systems in adults. Pregnant women are among the most vulnerable.

The Grand Prairie plant, at 114 N.E. 28th St., closed in 1998. In 2008, Delfasco Forge filed for bankruptcy, in part because of liabilities from the contamination.

At a public meeting in 2022, several residents questioned whether enough was being done, and quickly enough, to address the public health hazard.

“This is my family. This is my home, my neighbors,” said one resident who did not identify herself, adding that several family members have fallen ill with various diseases. “We are citizens here being neglected. This is gross negligence.”

Federal and state authorities have acknowledged anger with the slow-moving process but said the timeline is consistent with this type of toxic site.

Previously, the EPA said cleanup will likely begin sometime in 2024. For now, the agency and the Texas State Department of Health Services urged residents to request a free vapor mitigation system be installed in their homes.

However, many in the neighborhood are renters, and homeowners must approve the mitigation systems.

The public meeting is 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Shotwell Life Center, 2750 Graham St., in Grand Prairie. Presentations will be in English and Spanish.

©2023 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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