FRANKLIN (WWJ) – The discovery of a storage tank with unknown chemicals has forced the closure of businesses in the Franklin Village Plaza as of Monday night.
The Oakland County Health Division issuing the mandatory closure after finding a tank holding at least 45 gallons of unknown volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the crawl space of the building located at 32716-32744 Franklin Rd. in Franklin.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) hasn’t been able to determine what the chemical is and doesn’t know the potential for harm.
In the meantime, they’ll take samples and test to figure out what’s in the tank and that will determine the next steps needed to be taken.
According to a release sent to WWJ: “The discovery of the vapor intrusion is a result of MDEQ’s ongoing statewide efforts to investigate indoor air quality resulting from known contamination sites … The tank was discovered over the weekend while the MDEQ began to remediate the health risks of a vapor intrusion involving the chemicals Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Tetrachloroethylene (PCE).
TCE and PCE are used in dry cleaning and metal degreasing and are likely present due to a previous dry cleaner and gas station that were on the property in the 1950s – 1970s. Please note, the current dry cleaner located in the plaza is neither responsible for this vapor intrusion nor do they conduct dry cleaning or store chemicals onsite.”
Businesses were closed on a voluntary basis on Friday and when the MDEQ couldn’t immediately determine the substance — a mandatory closure was issued.
“Vapor intrusion occurs when vapors (gases) from volatile chemicals in contaminated soil and/or groundwater move through the soil and into buildings through cracks in floors, walls, and gaps around service pipes. In outdoor air, these vapors are often diluted to harmless levels. When trapped in an enclosed space like a home or building, these vapors can collect and impact the indoor air quality and pose a risk to health — according to the statement released.
“At low levels over a long period of time, PCE may cause color vision loss and changes in mood, memory, attention, and reaction time. Exposure to PCE and TCE could lead to higher risk of getting certain types of cancer and birth defects.”