FORT WORTH -- Despite residents' fears that the Trinity River could be tainted by contaminated groundwater, the City Council approved three special environmental districts for contaminated land in far east Fort Worth.
The special districts, known as municipal setting designations, would cover about 100 acres near the intersection of Farm Road 157 and Calloway Cemetery Road, near the Fort Worth-Euless border.
The districts will restrict the use of groundwater in the area, allowing property owners to sidestep requirements that the water be cleaned to drinkable standards. The districts are designed to speed redevelopment of polluted areas as long as they don't pose a risk to a drinking-water source.
Environmental officials say the groundwater in the targeted areas is contaminated with trichloromethane, or TCE, a potentially cancer-causing solvent, and that the contamination has spread to neighboring properties.
"The groundwater is not going to be contained," said Chester Wiley, a Euless resident who lives within a half-mile of the site. "If we're going to err, we should err on the side of caution."
Representatives of three companies -- B.F. Goodrich, Sun Coast Resources and Direct Fuels -- said there's no danger to the neighborhoods and said the contaminated water will dissipate once it reaches a nearby pond.
"The solution to pollution is dilution," said Steven George, an environmental consultant for Goodrich.
The council approved two of the districts unanimously. Mayor Pro Tem Kathleen Hicks voted against one of the districts, saying she thought it was too close to a neighborhood and private school.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality must still approve the three districts, which would bring to 12 the number of districts in Fort Worth.