Cancer-causing chemicals found at old Ford plant site in Shelby Township

Shelby Township leaders want Ford Motor Company to clean up site where toxic chemicals exist

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. - It appears a toxic chemical is spreading at the site of the old Ford plant in Shelby Township. It could cost $150 million to fix the problem.

The Sobolewski family moved into the Central Park subdivision in Shelby Township two years ago. They were unaware of the potential health hazard looming below.

"People are just concerned. They just want problem resolved. They want to have to worry about contaminants in their life," said Mike Sobolewski.

The family's neighborhood backs up to the old Ford Visteon plant on Mound Road. It's an area long-suspected of being contaminated.

"It is very frightening, and I have children," said Elma Sobolewski.

After months of testing and compiling an extensive 8,000-page report, the township confirmed in a town hall meeting on Wednesday that the soil and groundwater at the site tested positive for two cancer-causing chemicals called TCE and TCA.

"When we first saw that TCE was present, to us it was no big surprise whatsoever," said Dr. James Bakum, who conducted testing.

It's a great threat. The ground is contaminated and the highly-toxic chemicals are migrating toward the residential area. An expert says the drinking water is safe. Testing has not been done at the subdivision but a nearby baseball field could put children at risk.

The township is going after Ford to clean up the site.

"It is Ford Motor Company's responsibility and that's who we're seeking a remedy with," said Rob Huth, township attorney.

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