VAPOR INTRUSION: 1/2 of Como homes above TCE threshold - KMSP-TV

VAPOR INTRUSION: 1/2 of Como homes above TCE threshold

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Testing for TCE vapors has been completed in more than 2/3 of the homes and buildings in the Como neighborhood study area.

Roughly 200 homes in the Como neighborhood of Minneapolis are being tested for trichloroethylene (TCE) to see if vapors linked to industrial solvents dumped by General Mills are seeping into homes.

TCE TESTING STATS

- 143 homes have been sampled through Jan. 17

- 92 homes have been found to have TCE levels above the "very protective" screening level set by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (those homes have been offered vapor ventilation systems)

- 43 ventilation systems have been installed

- 50 homes have been found to be below the TCE screening threshold

- 37 homes tested below 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air – a level below which no further testing in considered necessary by MPCA and state health department standards

- 13 homes tested in the 2 to 20 microgram range and will be retested

BACKGROUND

General Mills used TCE between the 1940s and 1960s, dumping it into a pool on site as was standard at the time. The chemicals polluted the groundwater, and the company spent 25 years treating two contaminated aquifers beneath the Como neighborhood. The water treatment efforts were halted in 2010.

General Mills has offered to cover the cost of testing and installation of any required ventilation system, with the equipment costing roughly $2,000 per home.

Online resources:

- TCE vapors investigation FAQ: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/waste/waste-and-cleanup/cleanup/superfund/investigation-into-tce-soil-vapor-in-the-como-neighborhood-of-minneapolis.html

- Minnesota Department of Health on Vapor Intrusion: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/hazardous/topics/vaporintrusion.html

- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/

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