KEARNEY, Neb. — The Environmental Protection Agency and Eaton Corp. have agreed to reduce groundwater monitoring and remediation efforts because off-site groundwater contamination has been reduced around the company’s plant in Kearney.

The EPA said Tuesday that sampling has confirmed that the remaining levels of a toxic chemical, trichloroethylene, no longer exceed the EPA maximum for drinking water. The chemical was used as a degreaser at the automotive parts plant. It’s been linked to cancer and birth defects.

The contamination was discovered in 1986. Officials believe lines from an underground storage tank leaked. At one point the groundwater contamination plume extended nearly 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the plant. The company agreed in January 2012 to clean up the groundwater.

Eaton will continue groundwater remediation and monitoring at the plant site.