FRANKLIN (WWJ) – State officials have identified toxic chemicals found in a storage tank under the Franklin Village Plaza that forced the closure of five businesses last week.
The multiple chemicals include Tetrachloroethylene (PCE), Trichloroethylene (TCE) and petroleum byproducts, which can lead to higher risk of certain types of cancer and birth defects. Officials say the toxins came from a dry cleaning business and gas station, which were once located on the property from the 1930s to the 1970s.
The chemicals have been emptied from the tank, with the top half of the container removed and the bottom half left in place and filled in to maintain structural integrity.
Oakland County Health officials say the evacuation order remains in effect until further notice.
“Further air quality testing is required and will continue throughout the weekend to assure the vapor intrusion has been resolved and to determine whether additional remediation is necessary,” spokesperson Leigh-Anne Stafford said in a statement.
MDEQ will collect soil, groundwater and vapor samples over the coming months to assure continued protection of the public’s health and safety. Air scrubbers will also remain operating inside all affected businesses to further safeguard indoor air until a permanent mitigation system is installed.
The discovery of the vapor intrusion is a result of MDEQ’s ongoing efforts to investigate indoor air quality resulting from known contamination sites. Samples are collected and analyzed to determine if risks to human health and the environment are present. MDEQ began taking indoor air samples at the Franklin Village Plaza site in February and the mandatory closure was issued March 5.
Vapor intrusion occurs when vapors 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.
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.