The Board of Commissioners is preparing to vote on whether to allow SRG Global to carry out testing around its Covington plant to determine the extent of chemical contamination after a 2013 test revealed trichloroethylene (TCE) in the groundwater.
The plant is located on Industrial Boulevard, not far from a creek which Commissioner J.C. Henderson has said feeds the county’s reservoir. SRG is also negotiating with private landowners to test surface water of the nearby creek.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, prolonged exposure to TCE in drinking water can cause liver problems and possibly increased risk of cancer.
“[The Environmental Protection Division] was notified very early on,” said Mike Decker, global director of environment, health and safety at SRG Global. “We’ve been coordinating those efforts and working very closely with them.”
Decker added that the EPD has approved the company’s correction action plan, which includes installing a barrier on the property line to prevent chemicals from migrating off site. He said that prior to 2013, only limited groundwater testing had been performed.
Decker did not provide specific data on the chemical concentration found in the groundwater.
“We’ve found chemicals in the groundwater above allowable levels for drinking water, and these levels warrant action, but not alarm,” Decker said. “It’s important to note that residents don’t drink the groundwater, they are serviced by city water, which comes from a different source.”
Approval of the monitoring wells on county right-of-way was tabled at the April 21 BOC meeting.
Decker said that the company is working to schedule a meeting with Henderson and Chairman Keith Ellis to discuss the matter.
“Obviously the sooner we understand the situation the sooner we can initiate appropriate actions,” Decker said.
SRG is one of the largest manufacturers of automotive trim products. The plant, formerly known as Covington Molding, was acquired by Guardian Automotive in the early nineties, and later became part of Guardian subsidiary SRG Global.