Freshwater Weekly: December 16th, 2019

Posted on December 16, 2019 by

December 13, 2019

This week:  Radioactive Debris Caves into Detroit River + Consultant to City of Flint Failed to Alert Lead Contamination + Chicago Salt Truck Slides into Lake Michigan + $25 Million Available to Restore Kalamazoo River +  Environmental Groups Sue Over Toxic Spill in Little Calumet River

Radioactive Debris Caves into Detroit River

A collapsed seawall caused 9,000 cubic yards of debris at the Detroit Bulk Storage site to fall into the Detroit River.   The site was used during WWII for work on the Manhattan Project and in the 1950s to construct uranium rods. There are several downstream communities that pull drinking water from the river, and Freshwater Future is working to ensure that those communities are able to monitor appropriately in order to protect the people who drink the water.

A large crowd including Freshwater Future staff attended a public meeting last night to learn more about the status. Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Brenda Lawrence were in attendance.  Tlaib requested more testing beyond surface water to understand the problem.

Consultant to City of Flint Failed to Alert Lead Contamination

A private firm, Veolia, a contractor to the City of Flint was aware of potential lead contamination and failed to alert the City according to emails released from an investigation.  The emails reveal that senior employees knew lead could be leaching but were hesitant to share.  At the time Veolia had other contracts with the City pending.

Chicago Salt Truck Slides into Lake Michigan

An icy curve was too much even for a salt truck this week in Chicago causing it to slide into Lake Michigan.  Fortunately, the two employees escaped in good condition.

$25 Million Available to Restore Kalamazoo River

A new funding opportunity is available as a result of a legal settlement with NCR Corporation over PCB contamination in the Kalamazoo River.  The Kalamazoo River Natural Resources Trustees are soliciting restoration project ideas in the Kalamazoo River watershed.  A Restoration Portal website allows anyone to submit a project idea, whether conceptual in nature, fully designed, or somewhere in between. A series of public meetings will be held to explain the program’s process. The first public meeting is planned for Monday, January 13, 2020, at the downtown Kalamazoo Public Library, at 6:30 PM.

Environmental Groups Sue Over Toxic Spill in Little Calumet River

Over 100 permit violations are the basis of a lawsuit filed by two environmental groups against ArcelorMittal for a toxic spill of cyanide and ammonia last August in the Little Calumet River. The discharge killed 3,000 fish, closed beaches and shut down a water plant.  In addition, the company delayed reporting the spill to state regulatory agencies.

PFAS Test Kits – GIFT a KIT!
Freshwater Future believes everyone has a right to know what is in their drinking water, regardless of what’s in their wallets. We have partnered with the University of Michigan Biological Station and other donors to offer PFAS testing for homes on private wells at reduced rates. You can help make our kits even more accessible by selecting Gift a Kit at check out. We’ll use your donation to send a kit to someone else as part of our “Pay What You Can Program”. Get (or gift) your test kits today!


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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.