Fantastic Caverns vents chemical from cave

National News

November 19, 2018 - 11:36 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A cancer-causing chemical that leaked from a closed industrial site near the Springfield airport is appearing in the Fantastic Caverns tourist stop.

Litton Systems used the chemical —trichloroethylene (TCE) — to remove grease from metal parts when it manufactured circuit boards near the airport beginning in the 1960s. The chemical has reached some water wells near the airport, The Springfield News-Leader reported. Russ Campbell, owner of Fantastic Caverns, says he’s concerned for the future of the cave and for people living in the area. He says TCE readings so far have posed no threat to cave visitors or employees.

Fantastic Caverns has drilled three vent holes west of the cave so TCE vapors can escape before they reach the main parts of the cave. Fresh air will be pumped into three more holes to help move the contaminated air out of the cave.