Old Shelby Township Ford plant blamed for cancer-causing chemicals in nearby water

Environmental consultant says Ford plant emits harmful chemicals which could cause cancer

By Lauren Podell - Reporter


An old Shelby Township Ford Motor Co. plant is being blamed for leaking cancer-causing chemicals into the area's groundwater.

The plant at 23 Mile and Mound roads is in the process of being demolished. However, the latest findings may hinder the demolition.

In a motion hearing on Monday in Macomb County Circuit Court, an environmental consultant hired to test the plant site said two harmful chemicals have been found and people living in the area need to know about it.

The two chemicals are TCE, a known carcinogen, and TCA, an agent known to cause various human illnesses.

"You can almost think of them like soap does in washing your hands, it basically takes the grease, hydraulic fluids and oil off of parts," said environmental consultant James Dragun.

Attorneys for Ford also were at the hearing to address a protective order to keep certain information and documents confidential.

"Ford is ultimately responsible to clean up the site," said Shelby Township attorney Robert Huth.

The automotive group released the following statement:

"Today is a victory for everyone involved, including the residents of Shelby Township, because the court has enabled Ford to share information and access the adjacent property for testing. Since Ford identified this issue we have been investigating the former plant site while trying to gain access to the adjacent property to conduct further testing and determine its current condition. While we have not seen any data to support that anything is leaving the former plant site and moving into the neighboring community, the court's decision allows us to investigate further. We remain committed to doing what is right for the community and environment."

The investigation could cost millions. Dragun said his company has estimated it will cost about $57 million to clean the groundwater.

Environmental analysts estimate there are about 75 million gallons of contaminated groundwater on the site adjacent to the plant.

"If it was me personally, I would be concerned," said Dragun.

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