Enbridge buys homes along contaminated Kalamazoo River; EPA sends letters to Tittabawassee River residents
8/3/10 ABC12 News WJRTV Mid-Michigan
MIDLAND (WJRT) -- (08/03/10)--A company whose pipeline ruptured and dumped an estimated one million gallons of oil into a Calhoun County waterway has offered to buy up to 200 homes in the affected area.
Enbridge of Canada will buy some at their full list price, while others will be purchased at their appraised values before the spill.
All of the homes are in the 30-mile-long oil spill zone near Marshall and the contaminated Kalamazoo River. The oil flow has been contained, but cleanup is far from over.
While cleanup continues there, the cleanup plan for the waterways near Dow Chemical plants is progressing.
Residents along the Tittabawassee River have been receiving letters from the Environmental Protection Agency, preparing them for dioxin cleanup of the river.
More than 100 property owners along the Tittabawassee River have received letters in recent weeks, the latest step in the long cleanup process.
"They came in and dusted the house, and did some samplings," said Randy Kenyon.
That was a couple of years ago, so when Kenyon received his letter a couple of days ago from the EPA, he just thought it was more of the same.
"They just keep on testing and testing and nothing ever gets done," he said. "Are they going to clean up the river, or what are they going to do?"
But the letters represent the next step in the agreement between the EPA, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the Dow Chemical Company to clean the Saginaw Bay Watershed of dioxin contamination.
The property owners have been notified that their land is a potentially high-use property along the river and floodplain.
"This will be an assessment of whether or not a number of properties -- several hundred properties -- need to have exposure controls put in place," said Mary Logan of the EPA.
The exposure controls will be necessary when cleanup of the river begins. Logan says exposure controls can range from putting clean material down over contaminated land or moving a garden to a safer area.
"Prevent harmful exposure and to make sure people are safe on their own properties," she said.
Other areas along the Tittbawassee River have already been cleaned up, including West Michigan Park and a private neighborhood in Saginaw.
This new phase of the cleanup plan involves the most property owners to date. Kenyon just wants some answers.
"Get to the bottom of it and see what's going on," he said.
The assessment process of these properties is expected to take up to two months.