Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Mike's Cleaners - Weiser

Site Background

Washington County, with the assistance of DEQ, received a Brownfields Site Assessment grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a site investigation for the former Mike's Cleaners property, located at 1300 North State Street in Weiser, Idaho. The Mike's Cleaners building was constructed in the late 1970s and used as a drive-in restaurant. The property was sold in 1987 and converted for use as a laundry and dry cleaning facility. The property was sold again to Mike Lewis in 1997 and continued to operate as a dry cleaning facility.

The area around Mike's Cleaners is a mixture of residential and commercial properties. Commercial businesses located directly downgradient from the cleaners include Bo's Barn, a service station and convenience store; Weiser Collision Repair, an auto body shop; Weiser Christian Church Annex; and MacLean's Garage, an automobile service facility. The remainder of the area consists of single-family residences.

Regulatory History

In December 1998, Maxim Technologies conducted a site assessment at Bo's Barn in association with removal of three underground storage tanks (USTs). During those investigations, PCE and its degradation by-product trichloroethene (TCE) were detected in soil and ground water. PCE and TCE would not have been commonly used at a service station. Therefore, Maxim Technologies speculated that the PCE and TCE may have come from the adjacent Mike's Cleaners.

On June 18, 1999, Enviromechanics, PLLC conducted a site assessment for an attorney representing Mike's Cleaners. A total of three soil samples were collected from shallow soil on the south and east sides of the building. Results of the soil sampling confirmed the presence of PCE concentrations above acceptable levels.

A remedial investigation work plan was prepared for the site by KES, Inc. in 2001. The KES report indicated that PCE was stored in drums just outside the back door, east of the building. PCE waste was reportedly disposed on surface soils east of the building, accounting for the source of the PCE contamination. After discussions of the work scope with DEQ, and the owner of KES, Inc. becoming an employee of Materials Testing and Inspection (MTI), the remedial investigation work plan was implemented by MTI in 2002.

Results of the MTI investigation confirmed the presence of PCE-contaminated soils and ground water both on and off site. After this investigation, Mr. Lewis passed away, and the county assumed ownership of the dry cleaner facility. Soon after, DEQ assisted the county with an EPA Brownfields assessment grant application. The county's application was successful, and in June 2005, the county's contractor, Brown and Caldwell, conducted a thorough assessment of the contaminant plume.

Site Investigation Process

In 2005, Brown and Caldwell conducted an investigation of the soil and ground water contamination originating from Mike's Cleaners. Soil and ground water samples were collected along and within the 250 x 1,100-foot contamination plume. Soil vapor samples were also collected near the suspected area of release at Mike's Cleaners. Results of the assessment indicated that the contamination concentrations had been reduced by over 90% since 1998. Brown and Caldwell raised concerns about potential human health risks from hazardous vapors released by the plume. Consequently, DEQ contracted with Washington Group International (WGI) to resample the soil vapor points.

After receiving the results of the soil vapor sampling, Brown and Caldwell conducted a risk assessment of all available data. In short, the risk assessment concluded that the contamination was degraded to the point where it did not pose unacceptable risk to human health. Conditions inside the building were such that DEQ was unable to study the indoor air quality at Mike's Cleaners. At the time, parties interested in purchasing the property planned to demolish the structure. As a result, an indoor air study was never conducted. DEQ recommended an indoor air study prior to occupying the Mike's Cleaners building as a precaution. Such a study may occur depending on the planned reuse of the property.

Redevelopment Plans

On February 12, 2007, Washington County auctioned off the property. The successful bidder acquired the property and structure for $32,000. The new owner retained the structure, modified the interior, and opened a sign shop and tattoo parlor at the former Mike's Cleaners property. This new arrangement returned the property to the county tax roles, created jobs, and provided services to the citizens of Weiser.

Staff Contacts

Brownfields Program Coordinator
Eric Traynor
DEQ State Office
Waste Management and Remediation Division
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0565

Related Pages

Brownfields Assessment Program

Brownfields Grants

Voluntary Cleanup Program