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Contamination found in groundwater near Erickson Power Station

Contamination found in groundwater near Erickson Power Station
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 6:29 PM EST
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DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - The Lansing Board of Water and Light is working to clean up potentially dangerous contamination in the groundwater near one of its powerplants.

The Erickson Power Station is BWL’s last coal-fired powerplant. It’s scheduled to close this year, but the BWL could be dealing with what’s left behind for much longer than that.

Update: BWL finds elevated levels of boron in Delta Twp wells

“I’m hoping that Lansing is not going to be the next big thing that the country’s talking about,” said Delta Township resident Allen Johnston.

State regulators said chemicals found in coal ash -- the residue left over when coal is burned -- has contaminated the groundwater. The chemicals found in it have been linked to cancer, developmental delays, reproductive problems and heart and lung disease.

“It’s affecting all the wells around here,” Johnston said. “That’s exactly what I run on is well water.”

“We don’t want anybody concerned about their drinking water.” said Mark Matus, with the Board of Water and Light General Counsel.

The BWL said it’s working with state officials to clean up the groundwater contamination, test the wells in the area and come up with a plan to close the three spaces where coal ash is stored.

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy said the BWL can either remove and dispose of the coal ash or leave it there and cover it with a cap that will protect the water supply.

“We’re cleaning up the site completely, we’re going to do that,” Matus said. “We’re going to get all the material off the site when we close the plant, before we close the plant, when we close the plant I should say. And we’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure that groundwater is protected as best as it can be.”

If you’re concerned about your water, you can purchase a water testing kit or contact BWL to provide one. Michigan requires all water providers to offer those kits.

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