MDCH Releases Public Health Consultation about Grand Traverse Overall Supply Superfund Site

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 13, 2012

LANSING - The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has released a Public Health Consultation for the Grand Traverse Overall Supply (GTOS) Superfund site in Greilickville, Mich. MDCH expects no short-term harm to public health, but the long-term implications cannot be determined at this time due to insufficient indoor air data. MDCH will continue evaluating the site and will issue an updated report to include long-term impacts.

Local officials requested that current environmental data be reviewed to determine if past public health conclusions about chemicals in indoor air were still valid. The GTOS site was added to the National Priorities List as a Superfund site in 1983 due to groundwater contamination. Perchloroethene, a dry-cleaning chemical, and its breakdown products were found in area drinking water wells. The contaminated wells were immediately abandoned and deeper wells were drilled into an uncontaminated aquifer.

In 2005, MDCH evaluated soil gas and indoor air samples taken at Norris Elementary School, located next to the GTOS site. This investigation determined that no public health harm was expected. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) installed a soil vapor extraction system under the school, which significantly decreased soil gas concentrations of contaminants accumulating there. Norris Elementary has not been used as a school since 2008.

The EPA has been collecting soil gas, indoor air, and outdoor air samples at the Norris Elementary building, West Bay Covenant Church, and Harbor West Condominiums since 2009. Further remedial actions have been planned at the GTOS site including a groundwater extraction system that is expected to begin operating in spring 2013.

Following a November 2010 EPA public meeting, the local health department and the Elmwood Township supervisor asked MDCH for an updated public health opinion of the environmental data. This new Public Health Consultation details that evaluation. Further, MDCH will issue an update to the report after four rounds of sampling data are collected following the start-up of the groundwater extraction system.

MDCH invites the public to read the Public Health Consultation under "Health Assessments and Related Documents" at www.michigan.gov/mdch-toxics. The document is also available at the Traverse Area District Library located at 610 Woodmere Avenue in Traverse City.

The MDCH Division of Environmental Health conducted the Public Health Consultation under a cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Information concerning the human health effects of exposure to environmental contaminants can be found on the ATSDR web page at www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp.

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