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Jackson site rated one of the most toxic nationwide

Former Michner Plating Company property is now a Superfund site
Jackson site rated one of the most toxic nationwide
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - One of the most toxic properties in the country is near downtown Jackson.

The old Michner Plating Company property, located on on Mechanic Street, is currently on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund list, which means it’s a priority for them to get it cleaned up.

This means Jackson County has access to a lot more federal money to help pay for environmental clean-up.

More: Jackson news

The main concern now is chemicals leaching from the site into the Grand River, something the drain commissioner said has already happened.

“This building has been standing here unused for as long as I can remember,” said Jeanne Owens, who used to work near the Michner Plating property.

The plant used to add chrome to car parts until it closed in 2007. Owens is one of many people in Jackson excited to see the building have potential again.

“I think it would be wonderful to get it to whatever cleanup needs to be done and actually put this building to use again,” said Owens.

The EPA said it needs a lot of work. Michner Plating was fined just about every year from 1989 to 2007 for several violations. Floor drains in the four buildings have metals -- including arsenic -- and those drains go straight into the river or groundwater under the plant.

There are also other toxins found in the ground and groundwater. The EPA already took out about 1,100 drums, but there are many more buried under the building.

“Any action is better than no action at all. I’m happy to hear that they are doing it. I’m grateful. I hope they keep going with this momentum behind them,” said Carl Huff, who works near the toxic site.

Jackson County owns the property after a tax foreclosure. County commissioners told News 10 they need to clean up the site so it can sell it for redevelopment.

And Owens is hoping something for the community will move in.

“There’s always a need for more affordable living, apartments. Something more for the average person, not high end,” said Owens.

There’s no timeline on when environmental cleanup happened here. A lot of that depends on the kind of development that goes in.

The EPA said it plans to update the Superfund national priorities list twice a year.

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