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Report Warns of Risk from Industrial Sites in Floodplains

Flooding increases risks of toxic chemical releases
For Immediate Release

 

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 20, 2020

For More Information: 

Nathan Murphy, State Director, nmurphy@environmentmichigan.org, 517-303-8692

Report Warns of Risk from Industrial Sites in Floodplains

Flooding increases risks of toxic chemical releases 

Ann Arbor, MI - This is the second year with record high water levels across Michigan, and flooding is  threatening and harming communities across the state. A report from Environment Michigan Research and Policy Center details the risks of toxic chemicals and other pollution from facilities in floodplains. 

 “Our hearts go out to the communities around Michigan currently experiencing record rainfalls and flooding,” said State Director Nathan Murphy. “We are very concerned about the flooding also releasing toxic chemicals and other pollution from facilities located in these floodplains,” he continued. “Spilling these pollutants into the water makes a bad situation even worse.”

 Spills from a wide variety of industrial sites around the country have threatened surface water and damaged the environment. In 2017, a storage facility spilled chemicals into a creek near Roanoke, Virginia, killing tens of thousands of fish. In 2017 a steel plant in Portage, Indiana, spilled chromium, a heavy metal, into Lake Michigan, causing a nearby community to shut off its drinking water intake.

 Michigan’s industrial heritage results in a number of chemical and industrial facilities in floodplains where they face a risk of water flooding the facilities during high water events. The Dow Chemical facility on the banks of the Tittabawassee River may create a substantial risk of chemical release during the current high waters. In the past their actions released dioxins that contaminated the river and the floodplains where people live, and resulted in contaminated wildlife that use the floodplains.

 In New Jersey, where companies report total toxic chemical use instead of toxic waste produced, the total weight of toxics is almost 100 times higher than that of the toxic waste produced (see attached fact sheet). “The New Jersey data underscores how concerned Michiganders should be about these chemical facilities near our world-class surface waters,” said Murphy.

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