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City leaders update Bridger Creek residents about toxic gases

By Jordan Moore, KTVM Reporter, jmoore@ktvm.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 01:12:05 PM MST
Updated On: Nov 06 2013 11:01:22 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Bozeman city leaders tell NBC Montana they are figuring out more about the toxic gases found in homes near the old city landfill.

We have been following this story since June, when the city of Bozeman notified residents of the presence of volatile gases in areas near Bridger Creek phase III. A few months later in August, city engineers told us that after testing,  volatile compounds were discovered in some homes.

Since then the city has been working with a company called Tetra Tech to test the indoor air in homes with mitigation systems, as well as testing the soil underneath the homes. City manager Chris Kukulski explains how mitigation testing is able to give them a better picture of what is going on inside the homes.

"So the mitigation systems that are being installed are similar to a radon mitigation system in that it vacuums off the air from underneath the home and vents it out over the roof so that it breaks the pathway that any gases could be getting from the soils up into the home," said Kukulski.

Wednesday night the meeting was held at the Holiday Inn on Baxter Lane in Bozeman. As city leaders presented residents with the latest information Wednesday night, some were not satisfied with the presentation.

After the presentation, city leaders intended for people to break out into smaller groups based on their biggest concerns. The groups were labeled exposure risk, land fill information and mitigation and monitoring. But before they could break out into the sessions, many residents raised their hands with individual questions.

The city then allowed them to ask their questions. People wanted to know everything from how this will effect the value of their home, to what the health repercussions may be in the long run.

Pepper Henyon was one of those residents to speak up. She lives in phase two and tells us while she feels the city is doing a good job, she still has many unanswered questions.

"The unknown is the hardest, and when you are a parent it can keep you awake at night. Just not knowing, is it going to effect their IQ, is it going to give them diseases later on in life. You know, is it going to give them debilitating neurological problems later in life, or maybe it won't at all," said Henyon.

There were at least half a dozen more questions throughout the night, all of which city officials answered as best they could. At the meeting city leaders told residents their goal was to get this problem solved as quickly as possible so everyone can move on.

City leaders say they are preparing another meeting in the near future to update residents. As of now their plan of actions is to continue mitigation in phase three, monitor phase two, initiate remediation at the landfill and collect more data.