BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KNWA) — The general public does not appear to be at risk of dangerous chemicals in the air from the stump dump fire in Bella Vista, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
The Department of Health received preliminary air quality results from samples the Environmental Protection Agency collected from the stump dump site off Trafalgar Road in Bella Vista.
Preliminary results from samples collected offsite do not show high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) or Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs), otherwise known as chemicals, in the air outside of the location, according to a Department of Health news release states.
“Based on these air samples collected offsite, the general public does not appear to be at risk of exposure to dangerous chemicals in the air,” the news release states.
The data is still being validated and will not be considered final until the EPA notifies the Department of Health that the data is final.
“This is expected to happen in the next few days,” the news release states.
However, one of the samples that was collected onsite, which is described as within the boundaries of the stump dump, tested positive for benzene and could prove to be dangerous, according to a news release.
“Benzene is a VOC and can cause health effects that are serious if a person is exposed to it either in high doses (a lot of it) or over a long amount of time,” the news release states.
The Department of Health has notified the owner and operator about what needs to be done to ensure that employees and those on site are taking appropriate precautions to protect themselves from exposure to benzene.
The Department of Health news release states that the department is working with ADEQ and EPA to continue sampling and monitoring the site, both within the vicinity and outside of the site, for air quality and chemicals, including benzene.