Southeast Grand Rapids Site
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Update - June 2019
EPA has successfully installed and is operating a technology called a soil vapor extraction and air sparge system, to treat the contamination at the source. We successfully pilot tested this technology in 2017, and are working to have the full system designed and installed by Spring 2019.
On May 19, 2016, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services requested EPA assistance at the Southeast Grand Rapids Vapor Intrusion Site in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Elevated levels of tetrachloroethylene (PCE) had been detected in the indoor air at four properties, two residential and two commercial. Additionally, an elevated level of trichloroethylene (TCE) was detected at one of the commercial properties. These properties were determined to be unsafe for occupancy by the health department. The vapors caused the evacuation of six residents and workers of two non-profit organizations at two physically connected buildings. EPA installed remediation systems in the buildings, and the buildings are reoccupied. EPA resampled the indoor air periodically for a year after system installation. Levels of target chemicals in the buildings remained below action levels. Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy continues to conduct periodic indoor air sampling to verify that the levels remain safe.
A former dry cleaning operation at 413 Hall St. SE released the hazardous chemicals including tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, and trichloroethylene, or TCE. EPA assessed the extent of the underground contamination around the former dry cleaner. EPA evaluated options to treat the contamination in the ground and groundwater at the former dry cleaner site, with the goal of eventually stopping the spread of contamination into the neighborhood, has now installed a soil vapor extraction/ air sparge system.
Groundwater contaminated with PCE was found to extend underground, west of the site, to Euclid Ave. SE. Over the summer and fall of 2016, EPA completed an initial indoor air investigation in the target area to find out if residents were in danger of being exposed to the vapors coming off contaminated underground water. Based on the investigation results, EPA installed remediation systems at 7 properties where indoor air exceeded action levels. Follow up indoor air testing shows that the systems are working effectively. EPA conducted another round of air sampling in the neighborhood in January and February of 2017. Winter sampling results showed that no additional properties needed to be remediated. Overall average subslab PCE levels were found to be lower in the winter than during our initial sampling in the summer.
In this area, EPA has not identified a threat to drinking water. City water is not contaminated (the city gets drinking water from Lake Michigan), and EPA has not identified any properties that use well water for drinking water.
- EPA Continues Investigation of Unsafe Fumes July 2016
- EPA Begins Emergency Response for Unsafe Fumes June 2016
- La EPA inicia respuesta de emergencia por humo peligroso
ATSDR Fact Sheets
- Vapor Intrusion (PDF) (2 pp, 115 K, About PDF)
- Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) (PDF) (2 pp, 238 K, About PDF)
- Tetracloroetileno (PCE) (PDF)(Spanish) (2 pp, 101 K, About PDF)
- Trichloroethylene (TCE) (PDF) (2 pp, 238 K, About PDF)
- Tricloroetileno (TCE) (PDF) (Spanish) (2 pp, 120 K, About PDF)