[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ St. Clair Shores PCB sampling results

Enviro-Mich message from Cyndi Roper <croper@cleanwater.org>

For Immediate Release: July  2, 2003

Toxic Free Shores Contacts:
Ralph Reich 586.778.0754, Lorol Brackx 586.775.6656,
Brenda Rothstein 586.677.0360, Bruce Terwilliger 586.774.4674
Cyndi Roper, Clean Water Action:  517.490.1394

Citizen Led Sampling Indicates Dangerously High Levels
of PCB Contamination in Storm Drain and Canal!

St. Clair Shores, MI---The results are in from Toxic Free Shores' (TFS) 
independent "Citizen Led Sampling Initiative" and, unfortunately, they 
reveal high concentrations of PCBs both inside and outside of the Ten Mile 
storm drain catch basin. In addition, levels at two other locations in the 
Ten Mile/Lange/Revere canal measured above the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency's (EPA) action level of 10 (parts per million) ppm, which 
prompted the recent $6 million "time critical cleanup."

All along residents questioned the validity of the EPA clean up results and 
repeatedly asked state and local officials to conduct follow-up sampling. 
Ultimately, TFS hired contractors who took 12 samples at 7 locations along 
both sides of the canal.

TFS members were expecting high PCB levels but were astonished by the 
results: the PCB levels inside the catch basin measured 1,000 ppm, which is 
1,000 times above the 1 ppm level that is considered "safe" for human 
contact, and a sediment sample taken in the canal beneath the storm drain 
outfall detected PCBs at 270 ppm, (270 times above the "safe" level).  TFS 
member and canal resident Ralph Reich pointed out that this is the same 
area of the canal and the same storm drain from which EPA recently claims 
to have removed "all highly contaminated" sediment containing PCBs 
following a year of intense cleanup. "Canal residents were told this would 
not happen again," stated Reich. "We were told that Macomb County officials 
would continuously monitor the drain to ensure it had been completely 
cleaned. We could see they weren't fulfilling their word and decided to do 
it ourselves."

"This site must remain an EPA Emergency Response Site, and an immediate 
remediation needs to be completed by the EPA, the county, and the city," 
stated Bonnie Richter, a canal resident and TFS member. "We are stunned 
that EPA cleaned to a PCB 'non-detect' level and in a very short period of 
time the contamination is back at 100 times above the action level," 
continued Richter.

"PCBs are still finding their way into the drain," reported TFS member and 
canal resident Lorol Brackx. "We fully expect the EPA, the Michigan 
Department of Environmental Quality, Macomb County, and the City of St. 
Clair Shores to continue a full investigation of this pollution until the 
source of the contamination is discovered and removed. This must be done 
for the health and safety of our families and neighbors living in St. Clair 
Shores," concluded Brackx.

Mary Kay Worley a member of TFS and the St. Clair Shores Yardners suggested 
that the investigation and testing should include the whole drainage 
district. "St. Clair Shores residents may have contaminated property even 
if they do not live along the canal," Worley said.

A $500 contribution from the St. Clair Shores Yardners and a $1,700 grant 
from Clean Water Fund funded TFS' testing and lab work, which was conducted 
by Clayton Group Services, the same lab the EPA used.

"We commend Toxic Free Shores members who have tirelessly worked to find 
the cause of this contamination and to ensure a proper cleanup is 
completed," stated Cyndi Roper, Clean Water Action's Michigan Director. 
"For more than a year, TFS members have sought to assist local, county, 
state and federal officials in the cleanup and investigation but, for the 
most part, officials have not taken their issues seriously. These test 
results confirm that TFS' concerns were justified, and they should be given 
a prominent role in determining the next steps."

The lack of communication between agencies and lack of information to 
residents affected by the contamination was a major problem for neighbors 
during the EPA clean up. Residents have had to continuously spend countless 
hours trying to make contact with representatives of all agencies to share 
their concerns to obtain pertinent information and/or clarify potential 
misinformation. "We feel that the lack of cooperation and the communication 
breach was a gross negligence by all agencies involved", stated Brackx.

Heath Issues are of major concern to residents. Brenda Rothstein, a 
Registered Nurse and Toxic Free Shores member states, "The residents on the 
10 Mile / Lange / Revere canals in St. Clair Shores have been unknowingly 
exposed to unsafe levels of PCBs and heavy metals some of which are quite 
soluble in water and others that easily find their way in to the air we 
breathe, for decades."

"The County will obviously have to also take a closer look at a potential 
source for the contamination and/or reconsider replacing or relining those 
drains as they (Anthony Marrocco, Macomb County Department of Public Works 
(DPW), Public Works Commissioner) had originally promised to do in June of 
2002," continued Rothstein

"Ultimately we want the source to be found, we want a complete clean up and 
we want continued monitoring. W are prepared to hold our officials 
accountable for our safety and well-being", stated Reich.

Residents are talking with legal representation regarding the current 
testing information and this new development.

Toxic Free Shores is a grassroots citizen's organization created by 
citizens, for citizens, to provide knowledge and to enhance the safety of 
those persons who are directly or indirectly affected by excessively high 
levels of Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other hazardous contaminants 
found in the canals and drains adjacent to Lake St. Clair in St. Clair 
Shores, Michigan.
Visit our website at:  toxicfreeshores.org

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"