Environmental testing to begin at St. Charles village office - WNEM TV 5

Environmental testing to begin at St. Charles village office

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
ST. CHARLES, MI (WNEM) -

Environmental testing is set to begin after a medical mystery brought into question the safety of a local police station. 

Over the decades two St. Charles police chiefs have developed the same type of leukemia. Now a sheriff's deputy working in that office claims he has developed medical issues of his own.

"We had had gas tanks in the '90s that were removed and we were monitoring the situation since then," St. Charles Village Manager Matthew Lane said.

Lane was aware of hazardous materials that were once housed at the municipal location.

"I'm having all of the soil and air quality tests redone by a third party company just to get a second opinion and figure out what's going on," Lane said.

The village's department of public works used to be housed there in the early '90s with its own gas pumps.

Up until recently, it also housed the sheriff's deputies. Now law enforcement officials have serious concerns about whether the building could be linked to health issues.

"There's a possibility that one of my employees has a medical condition that may or may not be related to that. It was enough for me to say let's move to another location until we can determine if it is a safe place to work," Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel said.

The sheriff's deputies who were stationed in the village of St. Charles have now been moved to Spaulding Township.

A Saginaw deputy isn't the only person with a possible related illness from the municipal building.

Officers from other agencies have had some medical issues that could also be related to the building's history.

"The deputy who is dealing with a medical issue did work at that sub station for many years and that was the reason why I decided to pull that sub station and put all the deputies into another sub station," Federspiel said.

The state DEQ confirmed they have done testing of the site and will continue to do more.

The I-Team obtained reports from the MDEQ. Those reports claim contaminants are at safe levels.

The report by Superior Environmental Group from 2013 shows lab results from all samplings with several identifiable compounds, but adds levels were below acceptable soil gas concentration and air value as regulated by the DEQ.

The DEQ project manager said there is nothing that shows any link between the building and the two former chiefs diagnosed with cancer or a Saginaw County deputy who recently requested to be removed from his post there.

The DEQ said because of the recent concerns they will be ordering new tests just to make sure.

The St. Charles Village Council approved a proposal at its meeting on Aug. 9 for environmental consulting and investigation services. The services will cost the village $24,335.

Now, AKT Peerless will begin testing and analyzing the soil and air quality from the village offices. The crews will be on site beginning Tuesday, Aug. 22 at 10:30 a.m. to test the parking lot. 

“The Village Council understands the concerns of our employees and of the public regarding the environmental condition of our building,” Lane said. “There was a long discussion about the questions we have regarding the extent of the situation and I think there is consensus that something has to be done to, one, find out what we are dealing with, and two, to prepare and execute an appropriate plan to resolve it.”

Crews will also take ground water samples to test for contamination. Sub slab vapor samples from inside the building were taken last week, officials said. 

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