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Further testing planned near Grand Rapids contamination site

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 buildingreceived 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.

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
Hilary is a General Assignment and Enterprise reporter for WGVU Public Media. She joined WGVU in September 2014 after several years of experience as a local news reporter, anchor and photojournalist in Midland, Saginaw and Bay counties. She's also worked as a financial and business reporter and audio field producer.
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