25ºF

‘It is business as usual’ -- Detroit River spill not cleaned up 50 days later

‘There seems to be this lack of urgency,' U.S. Congresswoman says

DETROIT – Residents are outraged over the uranium contaminated site that partially collapsed into the Detroit River and the lack of urgency from officials to fix the situation.

This environmental mess capturing the attention of a U.S Congresswoman who told Local 4 she has dealt with this company before.

READ: City of Detroit admits business tied to sinkhole operated without a permit

The neighborhood is sparse. Many have moved away from the Delray community. Those who couldn’t afford to move said they feel stuck.

Scott Brines has lived in the area for 17 years.

“I think it is the constant problem of neglect,” Brines said. “This community in particular because we are largely industrial and largely forgotten. There are very few people left here."

Local 4 spoke with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. She said she’s furious over how business is allowed to be conducted in her district.

“For people like Revere Copper -- as well as Detroit Bulk Storage -- for them to circumvent and not follow the process, not to apply for permits, to be that irresponsible," Tlaib said. “We have to stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

Local 4 Defenders brought to light Detroit Bulk was operating without a permit earlier this week. The company had been storing gravel at the Revere Copper site without permission. That heavy is believed to have caused the dock to collapse and then spill contaminated soil into the river.

Why was the soil contaminated? Back in the 1940s, the site was used in the race to build the first atomic bomb. That resulted in the soil being contaminated with a number of heavy metals, including uranium.

Tlaib said dealing with Detroit Bulk Storage is deja vu.

“I’ve dealt with them in this past,” Tlaib said. “With the future of dust plan for the petroleum coke. It took us years for them to address the water runoffs, the exposure of the black dust all throughout the neighborhood.”

Tlaib said the remediation plan should be coming from state or national officials, not the company who has been breaking rules for years.

READ: Owners of toxic site along Detroit River missed deadline for cleanup plan

“You know what is more outrageous is that we’re relying on information from the Detroit Bulk and Revere Dock to give to [Environment, Great Lakes & Energy] to the EPA.”

EPA and EGLE officials were on site Tuesday to prepare for the site assessments later this month. The dock collapse and spill happened Nov. 26.

“There seems to be this lack of urgency though,” Tlaib said. “We have to move very quickly.”

Brines agrees. He said he loves his community and hates to see what has been happening to it.

“It is business as usual for industry,” Brines said. “And then the communities that sit among the industries suffer.”


About the Authors: