Health and environmental regulators across Michigan are playing catch-up with industrial chemicals that remain in the ground or water long after initially being discovered. The state has a list of more than 3,000 vapor intrusion sites. The overwhelming number of locations means state regulators wait to be informed about problems by property owners, complaints from neighbors, environmental assessments required for construction projects or reviews mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Environmental officials say they're fighting toxic vapors with not enough staff or funding. The state Department of Environmental Quality hired another three people last year and paid for equipment and lab analysis with the $2.6 million it received from lawmakers to fight vapor intrusion.