Last updated May, 21, 2019

What We Know

The Camdenton Sludge Disposal Area site, located at 20 Airport Drive, is an open field where sludge from City Lagoon #3 (also known as Hulett Lagoon), the city of Camdenton's former wastewater sewage lagoon, was disposed during closure. The City Lagoon #3 operated from 1961 to 1989 and received industrial wastewater containing trichloroethylene (TCE), chromium, copper and zinc from the 221 Sunset Drive manufacturing facility. In 1989, sludge from the closure of City Lagoon #3 was land applied in a field north of Forbes Road at the end of the runway at the Camdenton Memorial Airport. Based on the TCE contamination documented at City Lagoon #3 (Hulett Lagoon site), there was concern that sludge disposed of near the airport could pose a risk to nearby residents if TCE was released into the groundwater.

A combined preliminary assessment/site inspection investigation of the Camdenton Sludge Disposal Area was completed by the department in 1999. TCE was not detected in samples from the sludge material and surrounding soil. The department sampled three nearby private drinking water wells and no TCE was detected in these wells. Residents also submitted well water samples to private laboratories that detected TCE, but the department was unable to replicate these results after conducting several rounds of sampling at the same area wells.

In June 2017, after receiving new information from a citizen in Camdenton that Hulett Lagoon sludge material may have been applied on two additional private properties, the department initiated a site reassessment investigation. After interviewing several individuals and examining city of Camdenton records, it was determined that the sludge applied at the two private properties came from the city’s wastewater treatment facility on Ha Ha Tonka Road and not from the City Lagoon #3 (Hulett Lagoon).


In 2017, citizens voiced concerns regarding potential contamination of private wells near the Sludge Disposal Area site not sampled during the 1999 investigation. To address these concerns the department conducted two site reassessment sampling events in October 2017 that included collection of groundwater samples from public and private wells within one half mile of the Sludge Disposal Area site. Samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including TCE, and site-related metals.

updateSite Reassessment Investigation Sampling Water Results (posted 1/2/18)

The department collected samples from 11 private drinking water wells and one public drinking water well, Camden County Public Water Supply District No. 2 (PWSD2) Backup Well #1, within one-half mile of the site. The department also collected samples from two additional private wells located several miles away to establish background levels of naturally occurring metals. All samples were collected from outdoor spigots nearest to the wellheads. Samples were analyzed for VOCs, including TCE, and site associated metals. No VOCs were detected in any of the water samples.

Trace metals were detected in several samples at levels below National Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Standards. The department collected samples from two private residences (one near the site and one background well further away) which had elevated lead concentrations. The department collected a follow-up sample from a post-water softener indoor faucet at the home near the site and it was non-detect for lead. It is likely that the lead contamination is attributable to natural sources, historic mining activities or deteriorating piping. Given that the lead concentrations encountered during the 1999 Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection sampling of soils at the sludge disposal site were not particularly high (lead was detected at levels below those permissible in residential soils), it is unlikely that the elevated lead in the impacted well is attributable to the site.  

Below are the analytical results for the Camden County PWSD2 Backup Well #1 samples and a document with helpful tips on how to interpret the data. The Camden County PWDS2 Backup Well #1 is maintained for emergency use only. The PWSD2 currently supplies water to county residents from two active wells located over two miles from the site.

Conclusions (posted 1/2/18)

The site reassessment investigation of the Camdenton Sludge Disposal Area site was initiated to determine whether additional sites had accepted City Lagoon #3 (Hulett Lagoon) wastes and whether TCE was contaminating local groundwater. Research conducted by department staff indicated that the sludge applied at the two private properties came from the city’s wastewater treatment facility on Ha Ha Tonka Road and not from the Hulett Lagoon.

Analytical results from the October 2017 sampling of private drinking water wells and a public well surrounding the Camdenton Sludge Disposal Area site indicate there is no groundwater contamination. No TCE was detected in any of the twelve wells sampled within one half mile of the site. Trace metals were detected in some wells but, other than the lead detections that are not likely attributable to the site, none were at concentrations significantly above background levels for the area, nor above National Primary or Secondary Drinking Water Standards. 

Given that sludge and surrounding soil samples collected in 1999 from the Camdenton Sludge Disposal Area site did not contain any TCE, and there is no groundwater contamination of drinking water wells surrounding the site, no further investigation is planned at this time.

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