PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Arsenic and benzene are chemicals no one would want around their home. But some Plano residents now fear they are (along with other dangerous toxins) after learning an industrial property nearby has contaminated groundwater.
Beth Perry and her husband are tow residents who don’t trust the soil around their home. They are two of many homeowners living within a half mile of the former Arco oil and gas facility where Dell and NTT Data have since moved.
A letter from the city revealed that 11 toxins, including arsenic and benzene were found in groundwater above allowable standards.
Perry said she discovered many of those chemicals are known to cause cancer. She and other nearby residents want the affected area to be cleaned and the land around it tested.
“We want Dell to step up to the plate and clean up that site so no lives are put in danger,” said Perry.
But Dell wants the city to declare the affected area off limits for wells used for drinking water even though no one has or drinks from wells around there. It’s a move nearby residents believe is being used to allow the company to avoid cleaning it up.
The city said in a statement to CBS11 News that: “…it is working with TCEQ and Dell to obtain all testing reports for the site and to determine if further testing is necessary. The City will require additional documentation from Dell regarding the extent of the contamination, including proximity to residents, prior to reconsideration of Dell’s request. The safety of our citizens is of the utmost importance to the City,” writes Paige Mims, Plano City Attorney.
Tonya and Eddie Vakser who live in a neighborhood nearby now refuse to eat anything grown in the garden in their yard and question why they are just now hearing about contamination that has likely existed for more than a decade.
“All these cancer-causing agents are apparently contaminating the ground water over there and no one’s ever told us this,” said Tonya Vakser.
Dell issued a statement to CBS11 News stating: “…that the company is “working closely with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Voluntary Cleanup Program to determine the most appropriate course of action to ensure we meet environmental standards that protect public health,” writes Dave Farmer, Dell spokesman.
Concerned Plano residents plan to address the issue at next week’s city council meeting.