2018-01-14 / News

St. Charles Village environmental report evaluates inside and out

By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter

VILLAGE OF ST. CHARLES – The Village of St. Charles will be eligible for state funding to cover 50 percent of the costs associated with the environmental testing and cleanup, Village Manager Matthew Lane told the village council during the Wednesday, Jan. 10 meeting.

The St. Charles Village office became the subject of an environmental site study after Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel pulled his deputies out of the St. Charles substation at the end of July 2017, due to health concerns in the village office building. Officers were reported to have experienced sudden violent illness when entering the evidence room. At least two law enforcement officers who worked in that office were diagnosed with the same form of cancer.

In August, the village hired AKT Peerless to investigate the serious environmental concerns associated with the village office. After months of testing inside the building and out, AKT Peerless issued a report on the test results. It is posted on the front page of the village website at www.stcmi.com.

During the Jan. 10 meeting, trustee Diana Kutz said, “My read from the report is there is no contamination inside the building.”

Lane responded, “That’s right.”

Having reviewed the report, trustee Christine Neumann said, “It’s moth balls. The first page says you have no problem.” The environmental testing firm determined that the cause of the strong odor in the evidence room was moth balls.

Lane said, “It’s not a carcinogen.” The firm had re-tested the interior of the building because results came back without contamination.

However, Lane said, “The soil and ground water on the outside of the building are very contaminated. Unfortunately, there is some contamination.”

He explained that water flows south toward the river. Yet there’s no indication that contamination from an old fuel tank was traveling in that direction. Contamination was discovered in the yard of the adjacent property.

Neumann said, “If I had a garden there, would it be contaminated?”

Lane said, “I met with Mr. and Mrs. Hasse, and they’re not going to plant a garden next year, just in case.”

Kutz said, “I’d like to have someone from AKT Peerless to come and talk with us on a [less technical, more grassroots manner].”

Neumann said, “We had a [fuel] tank removed in 1992. It didn’t get a clean bill, because the program ran out of money. There is some contamination under the blacktop. What about the fire department tanks?”

Lane said those were removed in 1994, and did get a clean report.

Neumann asked about the police officers who were diagnosed with the same type of leukemia.

Kutz talked about a report she read that tied the use of radar [speed detectors] and resting the units in their laps to officers that came down with the same type of leukemia. Lane concluded that the 104-page report from AKT Peerless tells him the status of the village office building is “inside – clean; outside – not clean. We have access to [up to] $50,000 from the state [for the report and environmental cleanup].”

Kutz concluded, “Obviously, we have a problem [to be remedied] with the Hasses. Years ago, the state told us it was better to leave it [fuel tank] in place, so it doesn’t go everywhere.”

Neumann said, “I’m glad [the building] was clean.”

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