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Potential Environmental Concerns Delay Children’s Museum Opening

Concern over contaminated soil vapor on the site of the Great Lakes Children’s Museum will postpone its reopening.

Mike Long, Executive Director of the museum located at the Discovery Center in Elmwood Township, disclosed the administration’s and board’s decision this week.

“Recent indoor air samples at the museum have been clean,” explained Long. “However, earlier soil vapor tests under the building detected some contamination.”

Facility owners, the Discovery Center, and its environmental consultants are working with the state before determining the museum is ready to reopen said the director.

Discovery Center CEO Matt McDonough explained that this spring environmental testing mandated by the state’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE, the former DEQ), revealed contaminant soil gas vapors under the floor of the museum.

The site has a history of commercial and light industrial use.

“Our local environmental consultants, Otwell Mawby, determined at the time these vapors had the potential to infiltrate indoors,” said McDonough.

In response, consultants installed indoor monitoring sites to collect air quality samples and reported results to the State. “The first sampling did not show any risks to public health,” the Center CEO noted. “However, out of concern for museum staff and its visitors, we’re seeking clarity from EGLE on the need for additional sampling and what is required for the museum to safely reopen.”

McDonough added that regular updates will be made public as further reporting to the state continues.