Henderson city commissioner explains city’s response on PFAS chemical notification

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HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) More Henderson city officials are defending their response to reports of PFAS chemicals found a few years ago at Shamrock Technology buildings.

City Commissioner Austin Vowels explained why certain decisions were made in notifying residents. Meanwhile, other cities downstream continue watching their water for any future exposures.

“I think the community has a right to be concerned,” Vowels said. He posted on Facebook that he disagreed with claims making city officials untrustworthy or negligent in how they responded to the Shamrock Technology chemical exposure. He cited ten reasons including Shamrock breaking no laws, since there are no regulations of the chemical, the city’s water tested as high as seven parts per trillion, well under the EPA’s recommended levels of 70 parts per trillion recommended levels, and lack of clarification on how harmful the levels they did test for are.

“There still is not a lot of clarification. Is it dangerous at this level? There’s a lot of speculation that it could be, I think that’s something they’re continuing to study, but I don’t think that it’s known that it is,” he said.
Vowels also says the city doesn’t have any enforcement authority, which is done at the federal and state level. He adds a recently formed working group could help with better communications with state environmental officials on informing residents.

“That’s who is in charge of environmental protection, and try to figure out, what is a good flow of information through here. How can we learn about what is going on in the city about environmental hazardous standards and communicate that through the public,” Vowels said.

Downstream in Union County, where Morganfield and other towns get drinking water from the Ohio River, Morganfield Mayor Randy Greenwell says they frequently test and monitor. Tests done in September also showed them under EPA’s recommended levels.

“The recommended levels is 70 parts per trillion. Our highest was 4 parts per trillion. But if you got any parts, it’s worth something to look at,” he said.

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