In December of 2010, a devastating fire destroyed Lansing’s Adams Plating Company.
But even when the flames were out, the damage wasn’t over. The debris left behind harmful chemicals that leaked into the soil and groundwater.
Officials say, the water run off from fighting the fire caused the problem, turning the property just south of Saginaw St. on Rosemary into a Superfund site for the EPA to step in.
Now years later, people who live nearby say their land is contaminated and toxic.
Today, the EPA began testing three homes in the area, hoping to solve the problem once and for all.
“Since 2012, when we bought the house, we’ve lost five animals, we’ve refused to grow a garden,” says Kim Cupples.
When Cupples looks out her window, she sees a giant green fence, dividing her property from where the Adam’s Plating Company used to stand.
Though that fence may keep people out, Cupples believes, it’s not enough to hold the harmful chemicals in.
“We noticed they were testing over there, we found out that it was for toxins from a fire that happened at Adams Plating,” says Cupples.
You can’t see it…and you can’t smell it… toxic vapor rising from the soil and ground water, entering your home though cracks in the foundation, or even the walls.
“Before we used to think that it was a 30 year exposure that would result in human health concerns, but now we know for some chemicals, it can be a much shorter exposure that can cause human health effects,” says Susan Leeming, Remediation and Redevelopment Director at the Department of Environmental Quality.
After the fire, the soil was replaced. But today, the problem of vapor intrusion in nearby home still exists. So the EPA is looking into it again.
“It could be coming from somewhere else, we don’t know,” says Jeff Lippert, On-Scene Coordinator for the EPA.
Lippert began testing in homes proven to have high amounts of harmful chemicals during previous testing.
“We’re going to be sampling the soil outdoors, we’re going to be sampling the ground water outdoors, and then the indoor air, and then also the gas that’s in the soil below the slabs in people’s basements,” says Lippert.
One of those basements, belongs to Cupples, where a compound found in gasoline called, Benzene is 15 times higher than it should be.
“It’s sad it’s sickening, you wake up every morning and that’s the first thing I think of, I go to bed at night, I literally lay there in bed at night and think we’re breathing in the toxins,” says Cupples.
The results of the testing, should be in next week.