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Public Statements

Michigan Lawmakers Call on EPA to Complete PCB Cleanup in St. Clair Shores

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


MICHIGAN LAWMAKERS CALL ON EPA TO COMPLETE PCB CLEANUP IN ST. CLAIR SHORES
Senators Levin and Stabenow, and Congressman Levin Write to Administrator of EPA Region 5 to urge cleanup of the remaining PCBs at their source

(Washington D.C.) - Members of the Michigan Delegation today released a joint letter to Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 Administrator Tom Skinner urging the EPA to "take immediate action to remediate the additional PCB contamination that has been discovered in St. Clair Shores, Michigan." The letter was signed by Senators Levin (D) and Stabenow (D), and Congressman Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak).

The Michigan lawmakers sent the letter to Administrator Skinner following a meeting in St. Clair Shores on October 20 in which Weston Solutions presented a feasibility study that laid out options to address the remaining PCB contamination. The feasibility study was commissioned by EPA and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Attending the meeting were representatives of all three congressional offices, as well as local officials and representatives of EPA and MDEQ.

"The people of St. Clair Shores deserve the peace of mind of knowing that this contamination finally has been cleaned up properly," Senator Levin said. "Now that we know where the majority of the PCBs are, we call on the EPA to get the job done quickly and thoroughly."

"The toxic contamination in St. Clair Shores must be cleaned up as quickly as possible," said Senator Stabenow. "The local residents have been waiting three years for action that will protect their health and the environment. I hope the EPA will work with us to make sure that this pollution is effectively and completely addressed."

"EPA needs to return and finish the PCB cleanup it began three years ago," said Congressman Levin. "The contamination must be dealt with at its source if we're going to be rid of the problem once and for all."

In their letter, Senators Levin and Stabenow and Congressman Levin write, "We strongly believe that the next step must be for EPA to complete its PCB cleanup effort and to mobilize a removal action that addresses the PCBs at their source as well as the re-contamination of the Ten Mile Drain system." The letter notes that in 2002, EPA's original investigation of the PCB problem concluded that the contamination was most likely due to a one-time illegal dumping of PCBs into the Ten Mile Drain system. That operating assumption has since turned out to be incorrect. Instead, PCBs continue to seep into the Ten Mile Drain from an area near the intersection of Harper and Bon Brae Streets.

NOTE: Please see the below joint letter.

October 27, 2005

Dear Administrator Skinner:

We are writing to urge the Environmental Protection Agency to take immediate action to remediate the additional PCB contamination that has been discovered in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.

In 2002, EPA completed an assessment of the high PCB levels that were discovered in the Ten Mile Drain system as well as two adjacent canals in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. At that time, an investigation of the contamination conducted by EPA and its Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team concluded that the likely source of the PCB contamination was illegal dumping of PCBs into a catch basin or storm sewer near the northwestern corner of the Ten Mile Drain system. Following the investigation and site assessment, EPA initiated a time-critical removal of the PCBs from the Drain and the canals, which was completed in 2004.

We greatly appreciate your personal efforts, as well as those of EPA, to address the PCB contamination in the Ten Mile Drain system and canals; unfortunately, extremely high levels of PCBs have again been found in the Drain. Samples from several different locations in the Drain have been tested, and PCB concentrations of up to 200,000 parts-per-million have been found. This is 4000 times the hazardous level. Further, these tests revealed that the PCB contamination was not the result of an illegal one-time dumping into the Ten Mile Drain; rather, the PCBs continue to seep into the Ten Mile Drain from an area near the intersection of Harper and Bon Brae Streets.

On October 20, Weston Solutions presented a feasibility study to determine the best way to address the PCB contamination. The study was commissioned by EPA and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Representatives of our offices attended the meeting with Jeff Kimble of EPA Region 5 to discuss the findings of the report.

The underlying danger to the residents who live nearby and use the canal is still significant. We strongly believe the next step must be for EPA to complete its PCB cleanup effort and to mobilize a removal action that addresses the PCBs at their source as well as the re-contamination of the Ten Mile Drain system. Unless effective action is taken in the near future, the renewed PCB contamination could completely undo EPA's previous cleanup efforts and leave a significant human health and environmental threat unabated.

Thank you for your attention to this critical matter.

Sincerely,

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator

Carl Levin
United States Senator

Sander M. Levin
Member of Congress

http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/mi12_levin/pr110305.html

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