(KTVI)-- How do you fight an underground, odorless, colorless toxin? Well people living in Elmwood Park, will benefit from a special system that can clear the air in their homes if necessary. Chronic illness are risks associated with long term exposure to toxins. That concerns people in the central St. Louis County subdivision . Now there's help fighting the potential for toxic vapors found in the soil beneath their homes.
Tom Zychinski an engineering consultant explains. "We`ve heard of some of the concerns that neighbors have had. So Perkin Elmer is concerned about the citizens. So, for people`s peace of mind, we decided to put them in every house in the neighborhood," he stated.
The chemical solvent Trichlorethelyne or T-C-E was spilled prior to 1988 by a nearby company that's since gone out of business. The new owners of the property, Perkin-Elmer, have opted to install vapor mitigation devices in all 60 homes in the subdivision. Even those where no vapors have actually been detected. A fan pulls vapors from under the house and pushes them outside above the roof line according to Zychinski. "It just goes a few inches beneath the foundation, into the gravel under the foundation so we can get the air flowing up and out of the house," he said.
The system was installed last week in Sylvester Hill's house. He`s optimistic about the installation. "I`d rather to know of rather than be ignorant of it," he said.
Hill says his home must be free of toxins since his two little grand daughters are often at the house. "If it shows that things are worse, it`s time for me to get out of here. Right now I really don`t know. Anything that can make me aware of what`s going on. I`m for it," he continued.
It's just like the radon removal device that homeowners are familiar with. Without the system, vapors could penetrate through the foundation. For peak performance Perkin Elmer is installing battery back up for sump pumps according to Zychinski. "You would not get the air flow out if you have water around that pipe," he said.
The system is installed at no cost to the homeowner. Houses will be tested for T-C-E again one month after installation.