AUBURN — State officials will brief downtown residents Monday about cleaning up dangerous chemicals left behind by a pre-1985 dry cleaner.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled an information session for residents at 6 p.m. April 7 at the Webster School, 95 Hampshire St.

The meeting involves the discovery of two chemicals, tetrachloroethene and perchloroethylene, in the soil at 7 Chestnut St. Both were used in a Beals Laundry dry cleaning station at that address before 1985, according to Jessamine Logan, communications director for the Maine DEP. A 16-unit apartment building was constructed on that lot in 1987.

Logan said the chemicals were commonly used in dry cleaning and are associated with developmental disorders in children and kidney, liver, blood, nervous system and immune system problems.

“We’re going to have a public health officer from the Centers for Disease Control at the meeting as well,” Logan said. “We’ll explain what we know, what we’ve found so far, updates about the apartment building and our process going forward.”

Logan said the DEP found the chemical in a former dry cleaner site in Bangor in 2004.

“So after that, we were able to come up with a list of potential sites where we knew there were former dry cleaners,” she said. “There was a Beals Laundry site across the street there in Auburn, but they told us about the dry cleaning site.”

Those tests found elevated levels in apartments at 7 Chestnut St. The 16-unit building had all but two units occupied at the time, she said.

“We also know that these chemicals can travel underground through sewer pipes and utility corridors. So we are sampling some of the neighboring properties as well, where that’s most likely to go.”

Testing involves placing an open air canister in a room for 24 hours. The canister is sealed and tested for the chemicals.

“We’ve already started working on a mitigation system,” she said. “We’d go down into the ground and install a vapor-extraction system, below the building.”

Logan said that system would remove the chemical from the surrounding soil.

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