Jul 11, 2016

Plan Proposed to Monitor Grand Traverse Bay for Cyanide

Permanent monitoring wells will gauge future cleanup needs

Michigan, Grant Traverse Bay, cyanide contamination

A $600,000 work plan to install 26 permanent monitoring wells was presented to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Environmental officials seek to monitor groundwater along the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay in Lake Michigan for signs of cyanide contamination.

Approved by local Brownfield Redevelopment Authority board members in May, the proposal stems from cyanide contamination discovered during the construction of Hotel Indigo, which prompted cleanup efforts and a project delay. During the cleanup efforts, crews removed 20,000 tons of soil and 2 million gal of water. Officials said the contamination stems from the area's industrialized period between 1900 and 1950.

Brownfield Redevelopment Director Jean Derenzy said the wells will help gauge how much contamination was remediated by the cleanup, and they will try to determine if additional remediation is necessary before future development is completed in the area. The proposed project may help determine if any contamination continues to reach the bay and the Boardman River.

The funding for the project will be covered by $180,000 in grant funds and $420,000 in loan funds, both of which will be paid by State Land Bank. Derenzy said tax increment financing money will recapture taxes in the area so they could be used to pay for any remediation.

"We're trying to get to the source and remove any source," Derenzy said. "So it's not a continual cost."