City to clean up second dry cleaner site


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – The City of Terre Haute will soon clean its second Brownfield site on property of a former dry cleaner.  This past winter, the city began cleaning up the former Ermisch Cleaners property at 16th and Poplar Streets. 

The city is hoping cleanup of the former Southside Cleaners at 9th and Margaret won’t be as extensive.

Pat Martin of the City Engineer’s office heads up the city’s efforts to cleanup Brownfield sites.  Recently, he added 9th and Margaret to his growing list.  Southside Cleaners once located here from the 1920’s to 1998.

“Anytime you have a dry cleaning operation that has been here seventy-some years, you know you probably have some kind of a problem, because the standards in those time periods were different than the standards now,” Martin said.

You may recall this past winter the city announced a major clean up at Ermisch Cleaners.  Chemicals from dry cleaning solvents made their way to the Wabash River.  While those same types of chemicals are the concern here at Southside, the city believes the cleanup will not be as extensive.

“It was a much smaller operation than the Ermisch operation.  So, the extent of the problem should be less,” Martin concluded.

The city will bore into the ground here at four different sites, concentrating on the property’s west side.  Adjacent to here are homes on well water.

“We’ll know whether it’s off site or not.  If it’s off site, we’ll go to the residents, and we’ll be talking to them about getting samples from their wells,” said Martin.

This former dry cleaner property is smack dab in the middle of phase two of the Margaret Avenue project that’s currently under construction.  The city tells us, though, they don’t expect the cleanup of this property to delay Margaret Avenue’s progress.

In the meantime, Martin will keep his fingers crossed that contamination is at a minimum.  Testing should begin in two weeks.  From there, the city will be able to draft a cleanup strategy. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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