BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) — The level of benzene in the wastewater from Bristol, Virginia’s landfill has exceeded limits established by Bristol Virginia Utilities — which treats the landfill’s wastewater — on several occasions over the past couple of years, according to BVU documents.
Documents from BVU show the permitted limit for benzene in the landfill’s wastewater is 0.07 milligrams per liter. Test results from June 2019 to last month show levels of up to 2.14 milligrams per liter.
Benzene is a known human carcinogen and exposure can lead to neurological symptoms, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The chemical is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.
BVU CEO Don Bowman told News Channel 11 the city is working to correct the problem and he does not believe there is any danger to residents. This also comes as the city is working to resolve an odor problem at the landfill.
“I’m open to all the investigation, the city having enough time to gather their facts,” Bowman said. “Obviously, when social media and the investigation of the landfill smells started, people were hoping for a fast resolution…this has gone on now for about six months. But it’s turned out to be a very comprehensive project for the city. It’s ultimately their responsibility to meet the wastewater perimeters set by their permit and I know they’re working very diligently toward that.”
Requests for comment from Bristol, Virginia city officials have not yet been returned.