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Researcher: Carcinogen spreading from old Visteon-Ford site in Shelby Township

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Dr. James Deagun said the carcinogen TCE is spreading from a former Visteon-Ford site in Shelby Township. Dr. James Deagun said the carcinogen TCE is spreading from a former Visteon-Ford site in Shelby Township.
SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJBK) -

The old Visteon-Ford site at 23 Mile and Mound Road is a property said to be contaminated with trichloroethylene, which is also known as TCE.  It is a degreasing chemical that was commonly used to clean auto parts.

It is also a carcinogen that environmental researcher Dr. James Dragun said is spreading in the soil and groundwater and leaching closer to the baseball diamonds and homes that surround the site.

"As long as nothing is done, it continues to spread," Dragun said.  "It's a big problem, and it covers a wide area."

He estimates remediation could cost $150 million.

"We've got some operations here that have produced some dire environmental hazards, and we need this cleaned up.  We need it cleaned up now," said Shelby Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis.

"Our position is the property owner, Indiana Metals, and primarily Ford Motor Company needs to get the property cleaned up," said Shelby Township attorney Rob Huth.

People who live and work near the site are invited to a public hearing at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday at the township offices.  There Dr. Dragun will be reviewing the results of his environmental study and answering questions.

Mike Grobbel will be there.  He is on the board of directors of the neighboring Central Park Master Community Association.

"Beyond the eyesore, it's really uncertainty.  Will we be affected?  There's some reassurance that so far it appears that we're not, but you can't predict the future.  So we want to see it fixed as quickly as possible," he said.

A representative from Indiana Metals said Ford is responsible for the remediation.  They've submitted a Response Activity Plan to the state, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will oversee the investigation and remediation.

Meanwhile, we received this statement from Ford:

"Ford is continuing to conduct an extensive investigation on the property and are working with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to determine what actions, if any, need to be taken. We have kept local residents apprised of our activities and will continue to do so as the process develops. We take this issue seriously and remain committed to doing what is right for the community and the environment."

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