EPA cleans up contaminated soil in Mid-Michigan - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

EPA cleans up contaminated soil in Mid-Michigan

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FLINT (WJRT) - (06/19/14) - The EPA has set up a decontamination operation at the site of a former Mid-Michigan dry cleaners. The agency says it could be a month before the property is cleaned up.

Royal Cleaners stood on Clio Road near Dartmouth in Flint. It's been closed for seven years, but it was discovered the soil is contaminated with dry cleaning solvents. The Genesee County Land Bank recently had the building demolished and called in the EPA to check the soil.

"These older dry cleaner properties sometimes have this historic contamination, so we came out and conducted a site assessment," said Tricia Edwards, EPA on-scene coordinator.

Soil testing showed high levels of TCE and PCE, which are commonly used in dry cleaning businesses.

"It could cause cancer," Edwards said.

There had been a dry cleaners on the site from 1961 to 2007. DEQ records show the business was cited a number of times for letting solvents leak out of containers. A chain link fence rings the property now and air monitoring devices check to make sure the chemicals are not getting into the air. The sidewalk is closed along that stretch of Clio Road. The clean up project may cost up to a half million dollars.

"When we investigate any site, we try to find a responsible party that would pay for the clean up," Edwards said.

Contractors hired by the EPA will dig a hole about 10 feet deep and place that soil under a dome.

"To simplify it, we super-heat the soil and we have a vacuum system that pulls off these volatile organic compounds," Edwards said.

The vapors are then absorbed by carbon inside a canister. The decontaminated soil will be returned to the hole. The EPA hopes to be wrapped up by mid-July.

One neighbor says it would have been nice if the EPA told her what was going on.

"I mean, it's kind of scary to know that you have soil contamination in your backyard. When it rains, the water rushes to certain spots. I mean, contamination is contamination," said Patricia Bonner, who lives on Dartmouth Street.
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