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Chemical vapors close two non-profits, public meeting Wednesday

Hilary Farrell

Environmental authorities have closed off a corner of Hall and Madison on Grand Rapids’ southeast side following a chemical vapor issue reported last week.

The Kent County Health Department says recent Michigan Department of Environmental Quality testing found the presence of tetrachloroethylene vapors at the site were four to eight times higher than acceptable levels.

The KCHD says acceptable levels are six parts per billion. Testing found levels between 25 and 50 parts per billion. 

An Environmental Protection Agency situation report indicates levels 17 times higher per volume were found specific to one testing spot.

The EPA says a former dry cleaning business, which operated in the area and closed in 1995, is the source of the vapor plume.

The closure impacts the Grand Rapids Red Project, Seeds of Promise and one apartment at 401 Hall St. SE and 1168 and 1170 Madison Ave. SE.

An order to prohibit occupancy was issued last Thursday.

The KCHD says last week it “does not believe acute health problems are likely”. A KCHD spokesperson says Tuesday that 20 people have received testing and about six or seven may remain.

A public meeting with environmental officials will be held on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the LINC Gallery, 341 Hall St. SE.

LINC officials say the non-profit undergoes regular testing to ensure its facilities are safe.

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