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Ford to begin drilling after chemical found outside plant in Livonia

Vinyl chloride found in groundwater

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LIVONIA, Mich. – Ford Motor Co. is beginning to drill in a Detroit-area neighborhood after finding vinyl chloride in groundwater outside a plant.

Ford Safety and Sustainability Communications Manager John Cangany said work started Tuesday morning in Livonia.

Samples with the chemical were found last summer during renovation work at least 7 feet below ground on the east side of Ford's Livonia Transmission Plant.

“We will be drilling borings in the neighborhood east of the plant to understand where the vinyl chloride stops," Cangany said.

The Dearborn-based automaker has said there's no health risk to people living in the area, and that the plant gets its drinking water from the city of Detroit's system.

“There is no risk to drinking water. As far as we can tell, there’s no data that suggests there’s any risk at all," Cangany said.

He said the source is originally from a spill that happened in the 1980s.

Ford held a community meeting Monday night for neighbors, and has also sent letters to residents. The Environmental Protection Agency's website says the EPA has classified the chemical as a carcinogen.

The company will drill for the next two weeks to identify the location of the vinyl chloride and plans to release the results in March.