Richfield homes to be tested for vapors after dry cleaning chemical found in water

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Dozens of homes in Richfield will be checked for potentially harmful vapors, after a chemical used by dry cleaners turned up in the area's groundwater.

During a meeting Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency began signing up homeowners for tests, KSTP reports.

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The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which is working with the federal agency, explains that the chemical known as PCE (which stands for perchloroethylene) can release vapors which could seep up through soil into buildings.

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Inhaling high concentrations of those vapors could lead to neurological problems or cancer, the state Department of Health says.

The EPA will measure "vapor intrusion" in the area near West 66th St. and Vincent Ave. in Richfield.

KARE 11 says the potential vapor plume identified by the EPA covers four blocks and includes 40 homes.

The chemical was discovered in the area's groundwater during an environmental study that was part of a real estate transaction, the station reports.

Several dry cleaning businesses were located in the area in past years and an EPA official tells KARE the agency is investigating whether the source of the PCE – including whether its release was accidental or if the chemical was dumped.

KSTP reports that if tests show high levels of PCE vapor, the home will be provided with a vapor ventilation system at no cost to the homeowner.

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