Tours temporarily suspended at Meramec Caverns

Meramec Caverns, which is one of the major tourist attractions in Missouri, has suffered a “double whammy” this year.

According to its website, Meramec Caverns is “the largest commercial cave in the state of Missouri.” This popular attraction is located south of Stanton, Mo., off of Interstate-44 or old Route 66. MeramecCavernsEntrance2007

Although billboards continue to tout the beautiful caverns as the “Oldest Tourist Attraction on Route 66,” the almost-empty parking lot and campground testify to the serious problems at hand.

The year started off with significant flood damage when the Meramec River not only inundated the parking lot at the caverns, but flood waters invaded several of their buildings, wreaking destruction. After spending time and money to clean up the extensive flood damage, the Turilli family was finally getting back to normal and gearing up for their peak season.

However, things took a nosedive in March when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detected unacceptable levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) in vapors coming off of contaminated ground water.

TCE is serious stuff. According to the EPA, it is “known to be a human carcinogen.” Health effects can also include heart defects in fetuses.

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