2 shops at Franklin strip mall OK'd to reopen

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
Franklin Village Plaza

Oakland County officials have given permission for two businesses to reopen at a Franklin shopping center after a potential chemical leak closed all five at the site.

The center, Franklin Village Plaza, is located on Franklin Road south of W. 14 Mile Road.

The Oakland County Health Division said it has lifted the mandatory evacuation notice for the Franklin Nail and Spa and Franklin Cleaners and the two businesses can resume operations as normal.

Two weeks ago, the department ordered all businesses at the entire shopping center to close after because of a potential chemical leak under its building.

County officials said the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services notified them a storage tank of at least 45 gallons of unknown volatile organic compounds was found in a crawl space.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials discovered the tank while conducting work to remediate vapors from chemicals used in dry cleaning and metal degreasing. 

On March 14, the DEQ said it identified the chemicals in the tank as Tetrachloroethylene and petroleum byproducts associated with a dry cleaning business and gas station that were located on the property until the 1970s.

The dry cleaning business currently at the shopping center, Franklin Cleaners, does not conduct dry cleaning or store chemicals onsite, according to the county.

The tank was successfully removed and vapor barriers and air filtration devices have been installed, according to the Oakland County Health Division.

However, the agency has a voluntary order in place for the three other businesses at the location: Tailoring and More, Fritz and Friends, and Village Boutique. It recommends the businesses stay closed while the results of air quality tests are pending.

Officials also said all of the businesses at the shopping center must use temporary air filtration devices 24 hours a day until a permanent system is installed. The MDEQ will continue to monitor the air quality at the center.