304 W. Wisconsin Ave
Appleton, WI 54911
Sterling Cleaners is an unassuming location in Appleton Wisconsin. The structure on-site was built as a dry cleaning facility in 1954. The dry cleaning operation has changed owners numerous times since initial construction and is currently operated as Sterling Cleaners. The property is immediately bordered on the west and north by residences. Commercial facilities are located across the street to the east and south.
The building sustained significant damage as a result of the fire in 1998.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was notified of a tetrachloroethylene (PCE) release related with fire clean-up at the Site in 1999.
Despite excavation of the soil in the area of the spill, ground samples indicated high concentrations of PCE remaining in the soil. In August 2008, the current owner of the facility provided WDNR with a Preliminary Soil and Groundwater Investigation that confirmed previously thought PCE pollution at the site.
In 2010, the EPA conducted a site assessment. The EPA discovered PCE at levels 1,000 times greater than the Preliminary Remediation Goal in soils on Site, 7,500 times greater than the MCL in groundwater, and three times above the action level recommended by the WI Department of Health in the indoor air of neighboring properties.
The EPA initiated a removal action at the Site September 2010. Via EPA contractors contaminated soils were excavated, in-situ treatment was applied to remaining PCE contaminated soils at the site, and a sub-slab depressurization system installed at an impacted residence. Air sampling conducted at neighboring residences following the 2010 removal action indicated an ambient contribution of PCE contamination. In August, 2011 the EPA directed action to address the ambient PCE vapors impacting residences. The ventilation system at Sterling Cleaners was improved to redirect PCE vapors thru the roof rather than out the side of the building.