Livonia residents demand Ford Motor Co. clean up contamination from nearby plant | Michigan Radio
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Livonia residents demand Ford Motor Co. clean up contamination from nearby plant

Jun 20, 2019

Residents of Alden Village in Livonia, Mich. hold a conference to demand Ford clean up chemicals from its nearby transmission plant.
Credit Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

People living in a Livonia neighborhood met Thursday to call on Ford Motor Company to clean up chemicals from the site of its nearby transmission plant.

Alden Village is on top of a plume of groundwater contaminated with vinyl chloride and trichlorethylene - both known carcinogens. The plume originated from the Ford property.

Kathy Gardner lives in the neighborhood.

A vapor mitigation system is currently being installed in her home. It's intended to help prevent chemical vapors from seeping into the house.

“It's been a nightmare,” Gardner said. “We've been told that is typically just a temporary fix so we wonder what that long-term fix might look like.”

Alden Village residents Kathy and Dennis Gardner.
Credit Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Gardner says her home has been in her family for three generations. Now she worries about whether she can sell it when she's ready.

“People that I know that are putting their homes up for sale, six hours and it's sold and it's higher than their asking price because there was a bidding war,” Gardner said. “Instead of ‘alright well, blow the dust off the for sale sign’ you know?”

Residents say they want Ford to do more to stop the spread of the plume.

A vapor mitigation system being installed in the home of Kathy and Dennis Gardner.
Credit Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

“The issue near the transmission plant is something we acknowledged a long time ago and we’ve been pretty actively addressing it, too," Ford spokesman T.R. Reid said in an interview. "That’s part of what the residents in the neighborhood are seeing. Unfortunately what’s being addressed today is to rectify a practice from 40 years ago. So while I’m sure it’s an inconvenience the highest priority is to make sure that people are protected and the environment around them, likewise."

Reid says that every indication the company has received so far is that there is no current health risk to residents.

"We have installed and have activated and are using systems that limit the spread of the issue so that what we’re addressing is what exists today and not something that persists over time,” he says.