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Concerned residents learn what's next after potentially toxic gases found in homes

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Aug 27 2013 10:57:38 PM MDT
Updated On: Aug 27 2013 11:09:01 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

NBC Montana has been following this story for two months. We told you how a company confirmed there are volatile gases like Benzene, Tetrachloroethene and Ethylbenzene in a number of homes near the old Bozeman landfill.

Tuesday folks from the company that did the testing, Tetra Tech, as well as representatives from Montana DEQ and a number of city officials met with homeowners to discuss the next step in removing these potentially harmful gases.

Emotions ran high at the meeting. Many homeowners just want to know if it's safe for them to be in their own homes.

The conference room was full at the Holiday Inn. There was a brief presentation from folks with Tetra Tech. Scientists explained the nuts and bolts of what they found and how they conducted their study.  

They talked about "vapor intrusion" or the ability for gases from the landfill to leak into homes through the concrete floors.

They haven't found explosive levels of any of the gases but residents were still left wondering -- What about my kids? My pets? Is it safe?

Mayor Sean Becker told residents he guarantees the city will take steps to remove these gases from homes near the old landfill using a mitigation system.

"It's a very scary process to be told that your home has potentially toxic gases in coming from an adjacent landfill and we just want to make sure that we are doing right by this neighborhood and that we're going to take care of this legacy issue, the result of 40 years of our community disposing its waste up there," explains Becker.

Further inspection and mitigation installation will begin in September.

We asked one resident, Eileen McGovern, if she was satisfied with the proposed mitigation plans. She says she's skeptical and wonders how long it will take to remove the gases both inside her home and the gases in the air outside coming from the landfill.

McGovern explains she has dangerous gases outside of her home, like Chloroform, and worries what dangers that ambient air poses to her family and her pets.

She and other residents also raised concerns about property value.