By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON – On-site monitoring by the Environmental Protection Agency of the McLouth Steel site demolition and cleanup continues, despite the closure of the EPA’s Grosse Ile office and relocation to Ann Arbor.
EPA On-site Coordinator Brian Kelly provided an update at the Sept. 16 Trenton City Council meeting.
Kelly said in the past year, Crown Enterprises and Wayne County have completed the purchase agreement; the EPA, Department of Justice and the state of Michigan completed the settlement agreement with Crown; and Crown’s company, MSC, has started the cleanup.
“That cleanup has made tremendous progress,” Kelly said. “MSC has submitted work plans to the EPA and the state, which we worked through and approved, and a berm has been created on the river side of the site to prevent sheet flow into the Trenton channel” of the Detroit River.
Sheet flow is the movement of water which occurs over land as a thin, continuous film as it passes over smooth rock or soil, without forming channels larger than rills.
Kelly said 35 of the 45 structures mentioned in the settlement agreement have been demolished. He said the remaining structures are the large mill buildings, but characterized the progress to date as “tremendous.”
He said 2,300 yards, or 62 truck loads of friable asbestos containing material has been removed from the site, along with 2,723 tons of galbestos siding, a metal coating that has asbestos in it, which was used on metal to provide corrosion resistance.
Kelly said 9,796 tons of demolition debris has been removed from the site, as have 49 PCB-containing transformers weighing 315 tons, 1.8 million gallons of liquid waste, 64 freon-containing refrigerant units, and eight vac/roll-off boxes containing K061 hazardous waste, which is electric arc furnace dust, which contains a 15 percent or greater concentration of zinc.
He said 44,010 gallons of K062 liquid waste, which is spent pickle liquor generated by steel finishing operations, and 20 cubic yards of solid K062 solid pickle liquor have been removed from the location.
A draft for a community involvement plan is on the EPA’s website, Kelly said, and the EPA has “actively engaged” with the Friends of the Detroit River, the Trenton Visionaries, which is a stake-holders group, and the Grosse Ile Civic Association.
Kelly said the Superfund designation announced last May will bring in federal funding to further clean up the site.
“The cleanup, I think, has gone very well,” Kelly said. “I think we have made a real push to talk to the community about what is going on and what will happen in the future.
“There are still some challenges out there, including the large mill buildings, the basements that they have, and also the removal of the stoves (the air pre-heaters for the blast furnaces) – the five of them – that you see that are about 260 feet tall, but I think that we will meet these challenges, just as we have met all the other challenges at this site.”
Kelly said community feedback has indicated that people want more information, so along with his reports, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator Kirstin Safakas will disseminate a monthly email to a broader group of interested parties, and include Kelly’s reports in her email distributions.
Trenton Mayor Kyle Stack said she feels the demolition and cleanup has been going well.
“I had a tour this past week, and I couldn’t believe the stuff that has been removed,” Stack said. “The buildings don’t show what has been removed, because they have used that as a blockage for dust and things like that, until they can get to the outside.”
Detailed information about the McLouth cleanup is available at epa.gov/superfund/mclouth-steel.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])