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DECATUR, Ala. – 3M will soon begin testing the air vapor quality at the Aquadome and the former Brookhaven campus.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) requested and scheduled a vapor intrusion test.

3M will install vapor probes to monitor and record the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) near the Aquadome Recreation Center out of an abundance of caution.

Officials say that PFAS chemicals will not evaporate like VOCs, and ADEM has not required 3M to do a vapor intrusion test for PFAS.

In April 2019, 3M admitted to the Environmental Protection Agency that its Decatur plant had illegally released toxic chemicals into the Tennessee River. 3M reported those illegal chemical releases to the state of Alabama for more than a decade. The public wasn’t made aware of those releases until News 19 first reported them in June 2019.

The discovery of PFAS chemical contamination at Decatur’s former Brookhaven Middle School led the board of education to threaten to sue 3M in December 2019. The school board sold the property to 3M in May 2020, for $1.25 million. The property the Aquadome sits on was not sold.

Brookhaven Middle School was opened in 1971 and closed in 2018. 

The City of Decatur said it was built on an old landfill and it asked 3M to investigate in July 2019. Three former landfills in Decatur and Morgan County were found to contain high levels of PFAS and other chemicals. 

The City of Decatur confirms they have already reviewed the PFAS levels on the 40-acre site. PFAS levels in the soil at the site and in the Aquadome pool were independently tested.

The test results from the pool found the PFAS level to be 10 times below the EPA’s lifetime advisory for drinking water. The soil tests performed at the site also revealed that the levels of PFAS were substantially lower than the soil screening levels established by the EPA for PFAS.

“The City of Decatur’s foremost priority is the health and safety of its residents and employees. From independent testing to mediation focused on accountability, the City prioritizes the protection of our schools and the municipal land we steward.”

City of Decatur