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Additional testing in Howell shows low levels of TCE in outdoor air

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Posted at 4:54 PM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 20:30:12-05

HOWELL, Mich. (WXYZ) — After Howell residents expressed concerns with possibly dangerous air pollution from the Diamond Chrome Plating processing plant, officials say additional testing results shows that the outdoor air around the plant contains low levels of the chemical trichloroethylene or TCE.

Around Nov. 20, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), along with the Livingston County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services began to evaluate the health risks associated with the processing plant's release of the potentially dangerous chemical TCE.

The chemical was used by the plant to remove grease from metal parts, and health officials warned residents that TCE gas had escaped from the plant and into the neighboring residential area.

After holding a public meeting with the community, on Nov. 25 the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy sent text messages to residents and local officials providing an update. That message revealed that after additional testing, results showed that TCE released is below the health screening value, which are protective of the most sensitive individuals.

Officials say the Diamond Chrome degreaser, which was causing the release of the TCE gas, is still not operating and will remain non-operational until the company is able to provide a plan that details how it will meet health and environmental standards.

Read the complete message sent to Howell residents below:

Thank you for taking the time to attend last week’s public meeting regarding trichloroethylene (TCE) emissions concerns from Diamond Chrome Plating in Howell.

Initial sample results reported at last week’s meeting, showed that of the 19 sample locations, 10 came back as non-detect for trichloroethylene (TCE) and nine came back with amounts below health screening levels of 2.0ug/m3 of TCE. Additionally, over the weekend the results of five additional samples came back at less than 2.0 µg/m3. All sampling results containing TCE were below health screening values, which are protective of the most sensitive individuals.

The Diamond Chrome degreaser – suspected as the primary source of the TCE – is still not operating. Before it is allowed to resume operations, the company must provide a comprehensive plan to meet health and environmental standards. This plan will be rigorously reviewed by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) prior to any action by Diamond Chrome to resume operation of the degreaser.

Up-to-date information on the Diamond Chrome situation can be found at www.michigan.gov/diamondchrome [michigan.gov]. Additionally, the Web page hosts the presentation slides shown during the meeting; fact sheets, frequently asked questions, background on TCE and other resources. This page will be updated as new test results and information become available.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), EGLE; Livingston County Health Department and other local officials are committed to working to protect residents and to provide transparent access to data and new information as we move forward in this process.


Sincerely,


Jenifer Dixon
Air Quality Liaison
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy