Canadian officials call for investigation after potentially radioactive site collapses into Detroit River

A contaminated site has partially collapsed into the Detroit River.

DETROIT – The former Revere Copper and Brass site on the Detroit riverfront is guarded by barbed-wire and brick walls, but a bird’s eye view can see the heavy machinery trying to restore the area that collapsed into the water.

The area has been rated high for contamination and could even be radioactive due to its history as a munitions site for the U.S. Department of Defense during the Manhattan Project.

It’s currently leased by Detroit Bulk Storage and everything seems OK, but a closer look isn’t as positive. It’s believed an overloaded amount of aggregate on site collapsed the shoreline into the river around Thanksgiving.

Residents on both sides of the river are concerned now that contaminated soil has fallen into the Detroit River, is there immediate danger to the drinking water?

“An immediate study should be conducted on the dangers presented to the Detroit waterways and Great Lakes region," said Canadian Parliament member Brian Masse. “Forty million people use the Great Lakes for drinking water and the ecosystem is already fragile. Any potential threat should be investigated immediately on both sides of the border.”

“Any time you’re talking about drinking water, it’s an urgent situation,” said Nick Assendelft, with Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. “We are watching the situation.”

Assendelft said the cleanup is up to the company. The owner said they have crews ready to start excavating stone out of a sinkhole that formed before rebuilding the seawall.

About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.