Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Hub violated state environmental regulations, state alleges

December 3, 2019
<p>The Hub construction April 4, 2019.</p>

The Hub construction April 4, 2019.

Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect new information from Core Campus's public relations representative about statements previously reported. In addition, this update is correcting an error regarding the ventilation system’s installation date. A previous version of this article said the system was installed in reaction to the violation notice.

The Hub on Campus in East Lansing was found in violation of state regulations regarding hazardous material mitigation. The city of East Lansing was notified in early November and released a statement Dec. 3.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, or EGLE, sent a notice to the developers, Core Campus, notifying the company that they did not provide sufficient documentation regarding mitigation systems based on department standards for hazardous substances.

According to Jason Sherman, a public relations official representing Core Campus, work on the ventilation system began in 2017 and was installed during The Hub's construction up until April 2018. The ventilation system was in place before the violation notice and was not a reaction to the notice itself.

"The report described the vapor mitigation system that was installed at the Hub, the results of preliminary tests proving the efficacy of the system, and the conclusion that the system was functioning as it was designed and that it satisfied the obligations set forth by the State," Sherman said via email. "Upon reviewing what Triterra had prepared, EGLE requested additional information to determine the effectiveness of the vapor mitigation system in their November 5th notice."

State officials have not yet confirmed if the system meets requirements.

"EGLE is in the process of setting up a technical review meeting with the developer's consultant to resolve the technical problems with their demonstration of due care compliance concerning potential vapor intrusion issues in The Hub," EGLE Public Information Officer Jill Greenberg said. "Currently we are working with the Department of Health and Human Services and Ingham County Health Department and the City of East Lansing to work on this issue."

"It's an air quality issue. The building is built over an auto repair shop. It is a contaminated site and there wasn't adequate decontamination of that property. They said they were gonna do some things ... but EGLE found out that they had not completed all the things that they were supposed to do," City Councilperson Mark Meadows said.

Sherman said he rejected Meadows’ statement in an email to The State News.

“Core Spaces and Triterra committed to a plan called a Due Care Plan that outlines specific actions to be taken to mitigate potential issues that may arise from the environmental impacts of the previous users of the site,” said Sherman via email. 

Sherman also said that Core Campus has complied with EGLE regulations and that the ventilation systems installed satisfied its obligation to the state. 

“On November 15, Triterra provided EGLE with all requested information and has continued conversations with EGLE as they review the documentation. Triterra continues to warrant that Core has met all obligations,” Sherman said.

Triterra is an environmental consulting firm that worked with Core Campus on the construction of The Hub.

Meadows also said that there does not appear to be any public health risk.

"Triterra will continue to perform PFE testing, smoke testing, and emissions sampling for the subject property, as is required for due care obligations. These tests shall continue to demonstrate the property is safe for the intended use and is protective of human health and safety," said Alan Snell, Triterra's project geologist, in a September letter to ELGE.

City, state and Ingham County officials said they are working closely with Core Campus to ensure the ventilation system meets requirements.

During a City Council meeting on Tuesday, Mayor Pro Tem Aaron Stephens criticized The Hub for misleading community members after it was voted "best apartment complex" by readers in The State News' 2019 Best of MSU guide.

Stephens also criticized The Hub's failure to let residents move in on time during its opening.

"When they came to us and said they would make things right I wanted every chance and I want them to do so, and I'm still hoping that I can see numbers that prove that they did, but to give me back what I would call a 'fluff piece' on Google Reviews that I can't actually verify are residents or not," Stephens said.

This is a developing story. In our reporting, we'll focus on credible information from officials and other authorities. We'll continue to update this story, check back for more updates and keep up with us on Twitter @thesnews.

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