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High air contamination levels found at second Grand Rapids site

Hilary Farrell

A second Grand Rapids property - this one across town - has been evacuated by health authorities after testing found high levels of air contamination.

The structure at 312 Ellsworth Ave. SW is next to The Rapid’s administrative headquarters downtown, close to Central Station.

The Environmental Protection Agency says indoor air samples at the building contained levels of trichloroethylene, or TCE, that were up to 200 times higher than state safety standards.

Samples collected from four nearby buildings showed indoor air levels below the state threshold.

The Kent County Health Department evacuated the property on Tuesday.

A KCHD spokesperson declined to provide names of tenants on Tuesday evening, citing privacy concerns.

It's the second evacuation order to occur in Grand Rapids in about a month.

The KCHD evacuated a connected structure on the southeast side of the city in May after indoor air testing found high levels of tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, as well as one sample with high TCE levels.

Environmental authorities are currently testing about 60 homes and properties in that area.

The site on Ellsworth formerly housed a Detrex Corporation chemical solvent facility, which closed in the 1990's.

The EPA says Trex Properties LLC, as owner of the site, has been part of voluntary and ongoing cleanup actions with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality since the facility closed.

Further remediation efforts were ordered by the EPA as of Tuesday, and agreed to by the company.

Those are expected to start this week.

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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