Dingell Requests Status Update from EPA on BASF Remediation Efforts
WYANDOTTE, Mich, August 1, 2023
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-06) today sent a letter to EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore requesting a full status update on the efforts to control contaminated groundwater at the BASF site in Wyandotte. This outreach follows a letter Dingell sent more than a year ago urging escalated enforcement and robust community outreach to protect Downriver residents from contaminated groundwater releases entering the Detroit River.
“In my previous letter, I stressed a lack of urgency in the short-term response to mitigate the flow of contamination into the Detroit River,” Dingell wrote. “While I commend the parties for their progress on a short-term pumping system, I am frustrated that it took so long to implement.”
“Regarding the long-term barrier wall solution, it is my understanding that EPA has decided to add an additional step in this process and has requested BASF to submit a 60 percent design proposal for EPA’s review. This, it appears, will result in a longer schedule than EPA originally projected as it relates to the design approval process. With these added delays, I have real concerns that construction will not begin this year as was stated in your initial response to my July 8th letter,” Dingell continued. “All parties, BASF, EGLE, and EPA, have a responsibility to uphold the consent decrees originally signed over 30 years ago to halt the flow of contaminated groundwater into the Detroit River. My constituents are growing more concerned with this drawn-out process and, while I acknowledge there is no simple solution to this issue and will take time to do right, the time it has taken to finalize a long-term remedy is frustrating.”
Specifically, Dingell requested answers to the following questions:
1. Why did EPA decided to add an additional step in the review process for the long-term barrier solution as it relates to the 60 percent design proposal BASF was requested to submit?
2. Can you provide more detail on the current compliance monitoring program and what contaminants are being monitored?
3. In EPA’s assessment, how is the short-term pumping operation going and will it be an effective measure to protect human health and the environment while the long-term solution is implemented?
4. When can we expect construction to begin on the long-term barrier solution? And when can we expect construction to be completed?
View the full text of the letter here.