Poisoned again

My backyard river in SE Michigan has been poisoned once again by the same company that dumped “don’t eat the fish” PFAS into it years ago; the ban is still in place today. This time they dumped a “don’t touch the water, don’t even water your lawn with it” toxin, the one in the movie Erin Brokovich. https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-environment-watch/cancer-causing-hexavalent-chromium-spills-wixom-plant-huron-river

They need to shut that place down.

There’s no excuse for this. I ran a plating plant and nothing went down the drain. This company dumped “several thousand gallons”. That sounds intentional to me.

Ugh. The company makes exterior decorative trim for cars. Very important and necessary. :roll_eyes: They should shut them down.

I relocated from PA to Grand Rapids, MI, for 8 years to be an estimator and PM for an industrial electrical contractor. Spent my summers as a kid on the Lake Michigan beaches (both parents grew up on the west coast of the Big Mitten and half my kin are still there.) I got a first hand look at the horrible legacy of pollution that the state’s laissez faire attitude towards industry has left – every month I was called on to prepare bid proposals for the electrical portion of mitigation projects that were desperately needed to clean up the contaminated sites throughout the state. At that time (1996 to 2004) Michigan had the largest number of unmitigated SuperFund sites proportional to its size of any US state or territory. A state that is blessed to be surrounded by the largest volume of fresh water in the world has scorned that treasure – they even have some wonderful aquifers (filled with the meltwaters of the retreating glaciers of the last Ice Age, though they chose to sell off that natural patrimony to Nestle Corporation to bottle and market as “Ice Mountain”.

Unlike more famous SuperFund site disasters like Love Canal and the Hanford, WA, nuclear plant, every part of Michigan is plagued with residual contamination from small manufacturing and processing plants like smelters, plating operations, dry cleaning plants and chemical companies which took advantage of lax oversight to dump their waste toxins into the welcoming permeable sands and gravels of the local geology. Only problem is that stuff collects and migrates underground. I was continually horrified to get bid packages that usually included a map showing several square miles of an area with the underground plume of cancer-causing and neurologically damaging toxins outlined underneath small towns, schools and people’s water wells.

One of the contractors I worked for was in a brownfield industrial park directly next door to an abandoned organic chemical production plant with barbed wire topped high fencing around it. From our parking lot you could see the stacks of rusting barrels scattered around the yard and evil looking puddles of god-knows-what oozing across the broken pavement and clumps of ragged weeds. I asked one of the environmental engineers who regularly sought quotes from us on the electrical portion of their monitoring or remediation projects about that site. He told me they had the contract to monitor it and that there was a huge plume of nasty stuff that was migrating closer every year to the nearby Grand River. The site was far down the priority list for the EPA and he said within 10 years this plume would begin leaching into the Grand if an earnest pump and filtration operation was not started soon.

I also recall that during the 8 years that I lived in GR, there were continual health warnings not to swim off the beautiful white sand beaches around the tourism areas along Lake Michigan, from Indiana Line up to Pentwater, due to biohazard pollution from the poorly run food production facilities, particularly the notorious “Mr, Turkey” plant of Bil-Mar Foods in Holland. The first year I lived there I heard that the Holland plant averaged 1000 water pollution release fines per year but they found it more economical to just pay the fines than clean up their systems that dumped animal waste and offal into the local rivers and the big lake. A number of Michigan based food companies have caused deaths due to food contamination (including Bil-Mar, whose contaminated meat caused 21 deaths in 1999.)

The drinking water in Grand Rapids and neighboring communities was so filthy that they had to put ridiculous levels of chlorine in it. I could neither bathe in it nor drink it without serious misery (dry flakey skin, hair like straw and horrible stomach cramps). Had to put chlorine filters on my shower heads and filter or use bottled water to drink and cook. A friend of mine there bought a hot tub and said after he filled it from his hose (he was on Grand Rapids city water) and did a preliminary test on it BEFORE doing the routine “shock” treatment on it, the test kit told him he had put “too much” chlorine in it already!

“Government regulation” is anathema to Michiganders and they have paid the price in having their precious land and water damaged.

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There are superfund sites all over the country. I know one in the Georgia woods we here they used to make agent orange, rockets and Temic. Temic (sp?) the same stuff that killed all those folks in Bopal (sp?) India. There are places there where nothing grows.