Lansing Township and it's Downtown Development Authority have filed a federal lawsuit against the Lansing Board of Water and Light. They want the utility to cover the $13 million cost to build a new storm drain near Lake Lansing Road.
The township's Supervisor Kathleen Rodgers says the project is necessary because of contamination at a BWL landfill. "Lansing Township's budget is 4 million dollars a year. We're talking 10% of our budget going to pay for a drain that is this costly because the Board of Water and Light contaminated 40 acres."
The dispute goes back some 40 years when the BWL used the landfill to dispose of waste from a coal-fired energy plant. The fly ash created groundwater contamination which a spokesman from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says has been contained with a "bathtub-like" structure called a surrey wall.
Ingham County Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann says the pollution has nothing to do with the need for a new storm drain. "Its not acceptable to contaminate our drinking water. So no matter what Kathy wants to do with the water, she can come up with an alternative to get rid of it, other than putting it in the ground, then that's okay with me. But we've got plans drawn, we've looked at all the alternatives, and the township has an obligation to pay on behalf of the public's health safety and welfare. That's what the law says and we think that the number is fair."
Lindemann says the Township will be expected to pay about half of the nearly $13 million price tag for the project. The city of Lansing and the BWL will have to pay the rest.
A spokesman for the Lansing Board of Water and Light would not comment on the lawsuit. He says it's against policy to comment on ongoing litigation.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says its monitoring water at the landfill and the BWL has contained the pollution with a bathtub-like structure called a surrey wall.