Dingell Shares Update from EPA on Arkema Site Cleanup
WYANDOTTE, Mich., October 3, 2023
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-06) today shared an update from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore on the status of cleanup efforts at the Arkema Inc. property in Wyandotte and Riverview. The update comes in response to an August letter Rep. Dingell sent to the agency, prompted by community concerns about the site.
“The prolonged clean-up effort at the Arkema site has rightfully raised concerns among Downriver residents, who deserve an update on the EPA’s work and when they can expect the site to be fully addressed,” Dingell said. “Many questions remain unanswered, and timelines remain outstanding, but I appreciate Administrator Shore’s update and attention to this problem. As a next step I am requesting LCRD Deputy Director Scott Ireland, who is the EPA point person on this site, to help me convene a community meeting with all involved government entities and other stakeholders. I remain deeply committed to ensuring that the contamination at the Arkema site is addressed promptly and that we continue to prioritize protecting our communities and our environment. I will continue to work closely with the EPA and all others involved to finally see this project through and keep the community updated on the cleanup efforts.”
“We appreciate your continued interest in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s work and support of our progress on the Detroit River,” Shore writes. “The Arkema East site, along the Trenton Channel and the rest of the Detroit River, continue to be of the utmost importance to EPA and bringing the Site to a conclusion that promotes protection and prosperity for the area residents remains our top priority.”
EPA’s “Lands, Chemicals and Redevelopment Division (LCRD) and Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) are closely coordinating on preparations for a future GLNPO-managed sediment remediation (i.e., dredging) project in the UTC. In 2010, Arkema S.A., INC. and BASF Corporation (BASF) applied to GLNPO to formally initiate the planning phases of a dredging project under the Great Lakes Legacy Act (GLLA), which, as currently contemplated, will address contaminated river sediment adjacent to several properties along 3.9 miles of the UTC (“GLLA UTC project”),” Shore continues. “The GLLA UTC project team has recently completed the evaluation of water treatment capabilities for the water that will be generated during the future dredging activity. The team is now incorporating the results into a final remedial design, which includes the removal (by dredging) of approximately 215,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, including over 100,000 cubic yards located adjacent to the BASF facility and around 67,000 cubic yards in front of the Arkema East site.”
“While LCRD has not yet published a Statement of Basis for the final decision at the Arkema East site, LCRD intends to coordinate the development and publication of that decision with the planning and implementation of the GLLA UTC project to ensure consistency and timing of the two efforts,” Shore continues. “It is important to note that releases of contamination to the river from the Arkema East site have ceased, although contaminated sediment in the UTC remains. Groundwater at the Arkema East site is prohibited from being used for drinking water and the site is secured with fencing. Impacted soil and sources have also been removed from the Arkema West and Arkema West Brine Fields sites, and these sites are also secured with fencing. Thus, LCRD has determined that the threat of off-site exposure of site contaminants to the public has been addressed for the Arkema Site.”
“One of my goals has been to find ways to improve coordination within EPA Region 5, with other federal agencies, and with our state and local partners,” Shore concludes. “To that end, I have asked LCRD Deputy Director Scott Ireland to be EPA’s main point person for these stakeholders on all Downriver contaminated sites. Scott will also coordinate closely with others across the relevant EPA programs. Kirstin Safakas, a seasoned Community Involvement Coordinator, has also been assigned to help inform and engage residents moving forward. I know that Scott’s leadership and Kirstin’s efforts will go a long way to help advance our work in these communities. EPA also appreciates the cooperation and partnership we have received from the cities of Riverview and Wyandotte that help to ensure that our work is successful.”
View the full text of the letter here.