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EPA Set to Begin Cleanup Work at Former ‘Franke’s Laundromat’ Site

Release Date: 5/21/2004
Contact Information: Greg Weigel
(208) 378-5773

May 21, 2004

Work site set to start May 24

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduled to begin its work to clean the former “Franke’s Laundromat” site in Caldwell, Idaho, on May 24, 2004.

Very high levels of perchlorethylene (PCE), have been found in the soil and groundwater at the site, which from the early 1960's until March 2000 hosted a laundromat and dry cleaning business.

The high concentration of PCE in soils beneath and adjacent to the existing Franke's Laundry building are a potential health hazard to any future site occupants as well as a source of continued migration to groundwater. The EPA is removing the contaminated soil to protect people from potential PCE exposure on the site and to reduce PCE movement into the groundwater. In order to excavate and properly dispose of highly contaminated soils, the unoccupied building must be removed.

Breathing PCE for short periods of time can adversely affect the human nervous system. Effects range from dizziness, fatigue, headaches and sweating to incoordination and unconsciousness. Contact with PCE liquid or vapor irritates the skin, the eyes, the nose, and the throat. Breathing perchloroethylene over longer periods of time can cause liver and kidney damage in humans. Workers exposed repeatedly to large amounts of PCE in air can also experience memory loss and confusion.

To protect the health of the workers conducting the clean-up work, at times workers will wear respirators and protective gear.

The EPA’s cleanup activities will begin Monday, May 24th, and will take about six weeks.