DNR: Compliance lax on testing for toxic vapors

Wisconsin regulators are following up on thousands of old chemical spills where cleanup consultants may have skipped a key step.

The key step involves investigating whether toxic vapors could seep into nearby homes or businesses.

The state Department of Natural Resources said a “noticeable” string of site owners applied to have their cleanup cases officially closed, even though they hadn’t checked for vapor leaks as required. As a result, the DNR sent notices to all 2,500 sites in September clarifying that the vapor tests were mandatory.

A review by Gannett Wisconsin Media finds that many site owners have only recently begun the tests. Hundreds of other sites may never be checked unless the owners do new construction or sell their properties.

Unchecked leaks could lead to toxic vapors accumulating in homes and other buildings.