Further testing planned near Grand Rapids contamination site

May 26, 2016

Image of map boundaries for initial testing expansion. The red marker shows the building closed by environmental authorities last week.
Credit Photo Mariano Avila | Image MDEQ/EPA Presentation

Contamination from a site of a former dry cleaner in southeast Grand Rapids may be larger than environmental officials initially thought.

Federal, state and local agency representatives provided updates at a public meeting held Wednesday.

Betsy Nightingale is an on-scene coordinator with the EPA’s Superfund division. She says officials will be contacting property owners and testing a several-block area near the corner of Hall and Madison for potential contamination.

The agency hopes to have initial sample tests completed by late June.

Several families have been asked to evacuate. An apartment and two non-profits in the initially-identified building received orders to evacuate last week.

The discovery of higher-than-acceptable levels of tetrachloroethylene in samples collected earlier this month was first made public last Friday.

The chemical was common to dry cleaning operations.

Long-term exposure is linked to a variety of health issues.