72ºF

Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib demands more testing at Detroit River aggregate spill site

Detroit Bulk Storage didn’t have proper permits

DETROIT – A Metro Detroit church was filled with people hoping to get answers about the seawall collapse at a site that has a history of uranium contamination.

Several state agencies were in attendance, as were congresswomen Brenda Lawrence and Rashida Tlaib.

Detroit Bulk Storage is the company that leases that land. The company only reported the incident as a dock collapse to the Coast Guard when it initially happened on Nov. 26, and didn’t mention anything about possible contamination. The reported it again on Nov. 29 to a national hotline but also only as a dock failure and never reported the possible contamination.

Local 4 also learned that the company was working illegally without proper permits.

The meeting began with an update from Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The department reported that there was no uranium contamination when the site collapsed and that subsequent testing has confirmed no radiation contamination on the site or in the water.

"They’re telling us -- the state -- and God bless them, but they’re the same people that told us Flint was fine,” Tlaib said.

Tlaib shared some heated words and made it clear she had no trust in state oversight, or the company to clean things up on its own.

“I don’t want just the surface water tested. You have to go deeper. It collapsed in the water. I just can’t see us saying there was radiation in 1981 and now -- no one can tell me 'where did it go?” Tlaib said.

“There is a legacy of industrial contamination along the Detroit River and we do have to deal with that history. I do want people to understand that this particular event did not pose an imminent threat to public health,” said Traci Kecskemeti, with EGLE.



About the Authors: