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Environment & Science

a screen that says mega millions and 173
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, what the worsening erosion of Great Lakes shorelines looks like from a bird’s eye view. Plus, an expected flood of absentee ballots this November has some of Michigan's clerks nervous about timely reporting. We talk to a state senator who says accuracy is more important than speed when it comes to counting votes. 

A white house sinks down a sand dune into Lake Michigan
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Record high water levels in the Great Lakes are wreaking havoc on Michigan’s shorelines. Dramatic erosion along the shore has put both private homes and public infrastructure at risk. Randy Claypool, aerial videographer and owner of Truly Michigan Aerial, captured footage that shows just how severe erosion is along Lake Michigan.

Potter Park Zoo

North American river otter Nkeke is a new mom following the birth of two pups Sunday, February 9 at Lansing's Potter Park Zoo.

The two pups are the second successful birth for Nkeke and otter dad Miles.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Many residents in northern Kent County say they're happy with a proposed settlement agreement over contamination from chemicals known as PFAS in the area, though some said they wish the agreement would go further. 

The Michigan attorney general's office held a forum to hear public comments on its consent decree Monday night in Rockford. More than 100 people showed up.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Environmentalists, the Michigan Attorney General, and many others are keeping an eye on every step of the process of replacing Line 5 at the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge’s Line 5 is the pipeline that crosses the Upper and Lower peninsulas of Michigan to transport oil and liquid natural gases to Canada.

But there’s another place where Line 5 is going under a body of water that’s part of the Great Lakes. Enbridge is replacing that pipeline under the St. Clair River just south of Lake Huron.

The City of Charlevoix is known for its beaches, lighthouse and fishermen. The Anishinaabe call it “Zhingwak Ziibing” or “Pine River.”

It’s less well known as a superfund site.

Pollution was first discovered in the city’s groundwater in 1981. The city quickly switched to Lake Michigan drinking water, as legal restrictions were put on the groundwater.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Wildlife are being poisoned and much of the time people using the poisons are not even aware of the danger. One Michigan resident is on a crusade to make people understand what’s at risk when they use rat poison.

These trees will have to be removed in order to clean up the bank and bed of the Huron River in Ann Arbor.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Ann Arbor City Council has approved $3.8 million worth of upgrades to improve the city’s water system. $3.4 million of that money will go to UV-treatment upgrades in order to combat a parasite called cryptosporidium.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

State Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that paperwork has been filed on a proposed settlement with Wolverine Worldwide over PFAS contamination.

Nessel’s office announced a tentative agreement in December. The state and two townships in northern Kent County had filed lawsuits against the shoe company for contaminating water with chemicals in the PFAS family.

Courtesy Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is giving two companies in Detroit until this Friday to come up with a new protections for the Detroit River. Two previous plans have been rejected as inadequate.

A dock collapsed along the Detroit River in November. EGLE instructed Revere Dock, LLC and Detroit Bulk Storage to submit an interim plan to keep further aggregate rock and soil from getting into the river.

A photo of the pit in the EPS basement before the 2017 emergency clean-up.
U.S. EPA

When Detroit firefighters found pits filled with liquid in the basement of a warehouse owned by Gary Sayers, state officials had to assume the worst.

That's because similar pits in the basement of Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights were heavily contaminated with hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen.  

Chromium turns liquids green, which resulted in a "green ooze," spilling from the EPS site onto I-696 in December.

Now, test results show that the liquid in the warehouse pits is in fact contaminated, but primarily with heavy metals. 

water faucet
Flickr user Bart / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you want to weigh in on the state's proposal to regulate seven different types of PFAS chemicals found in drinking water, you have until midnight on Friday, January, 31.

EGLE

Preliminary test results indicate pollution from Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights is not contaminating drinking water, nor is it moving into residential areas.

Work continues this week on the Enbridge tunnel planned beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The tunnel would house replacements for the twin pipelines known as Line 5. Michigan leaders are still locked in legal action with the company over the project. Last week, a panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected a state request to halt construction.

work being done under Mackinac bridge
Enbridge

Today on Stateside, we talk to the head of Enbridge's tunnel project about what's happening with Line 5. Plus, a conversation with the Detroit-based metal band I Prevail, which is nominated for two Grammy Awards this year.

A picture of the night sky with trees on the horizon in Dr. T.K. Lawless Park
International Dark Sky Association

When you look up at the night sky what do you see? For many of us, light pollution limits the view. But a new dark sky park in Cass County, Michigan will provide a place to see the night sky in its full glory.

Nutty for squirrels? There's a group for that.

Jan 21, 2020
this is a photo of a squirrel having a snack
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Nowadays, there's a day to celebrate everything. Tuesday January 21 is no exception. On that day, squirrel enthusiasts can celebrate all things squirrels. Why? Because it's National Squirrel Appreciation Day! A day to learn, celebrate, and acknowledge the furry friends that you likely cross paths with on a regular basis. 

The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station right on Lake Huron in Ontario.
user Cszmurlo / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan Congressional representatives have introduced a resolution to oppose storing nuclear waste near the Great Lakes.

The resolution was introduced by Representatives Dan Kildee and John Moolenaar, along with Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters.

It’s not the first time a resolution like it has been introduced in Congress.

U.S. EPA

Thirty years before toxic green ooze spilled onto a Madison Heights road, the state's Pollution Emergency Alerting System hotline received a complaint about chemical storage pits dug into the basement of Electro-Plating Services (EPS).

For three years, it appears the state took no action. Then, in 1993, another complaint was made to the hotline. This time, the state investigated.

Aerial view of the Detroit River
Wikimedia Commons

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has contacted two companies regarding a collapsed dock site on the Detroit River, calling their response "inadequate." The dock originally collapsed in November, and potentially contaminated soil has been eroding into the river. 

gelman plume
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-12th District) held a community meeting last night to address concerns about the contamination of Ann Arbor’s groundwater by a dioxane plume.

Gelman Sciences, a now defunct company, is responsible for the contamination of the groundwater with a chemical called 1,4 dioxane. Gelman had been assisting with cleanup through extraction wells in 2019, but the plume continues to spread closer and closer to the Huron River, the source of Ann Arbor’s drinking water.

A photo of the pit in the EPS basement before the 2017 emergency clean-up.
U.S. EPA

Democratic US Representative Rashida Tlaib of Detroit is asking the U.S. EPA to help clean up another contaminated property owned by Gary Sayers. Sayers owns a warehouse in Detroit as well as Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights.

a sign that says Flint River along the actual flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, it’s been four years since the state announced a criminal investigation into the Flint water crisis. We talked to two journalists who covered the crisis about lessons learned on government accountability and public health. Plus, the state of Michigan files suit against some of the biggest names in corporate America over PFAS contamination. We'll hear about how a similar case played out in Minnesota. 

green ooze
Michigan Dept. of Transportation

On December 20, a neon green slime was discovered leaking onto I-696 in Madison Heights. 

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Contaminated water is still migrating off the property of Electro-Plating Services, despite pumps installed inside the building. 

That's according to Tracy Kecszemeti, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy's district supervisor of materials management.

Read more: First day of trial: regulators paint grim picture of conditions at Electro-Plating Services

City of Madison Heights

Environmental regulators painted a grim picture of conditions inside Electro-Plating Services on the first day of a trial on Monday. 

U.S. EPA

State environmental officials say Detroit fire inspectors have found a number of liquid filled pits in the basement of a Detroit warehouse owned by Gary Sayers.

Sayers was recently imprisoned for violations of environmental laws at his company, Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights.

U.S. EPA

State environmental regulators say they'll reassess if Electro-Plating Services qualifies for Superfund status. 

The company is the source of the contaminated green liquid that spilled onto a roadway in Madison Heights in December. 

The U.S. EPA did what's called a "critical removal" of hazardous materials from Electroplating Services in 2017: hauling away anything that seemed like an imminent threat to public health. 

U.S. EPA

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) says it's investigating potentially hazardous chemicals discovered at a Detroit property owned by Gary Sayers, who was recently imprisoned for violations of environmental laws at his company, Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights.

Detroit Fire Department inspectors identified potentially hazardous liquids at the location, 5900 Commonwealth Street, on Friday.

Jaali the black rhino in the rhino barn
Kaiti Chritz | Potter Park Zoo

Update, Thursday, January 9:

The baby black rhino is nameless no more!

The votes have been tallied and Jaali (pronounced like "jolly") is the winner. The name means “powerful” in Swahili. It is also a fitting name for a Christmas Eve baby.

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