Source: http://www.mlive.com, August 9, 2017
By: Ben Solis
Ford Motor Company and its Livonia Transmission Plant are facing a second lawsuit regarding a chemical plume that has allegedly polluted groundwater, soil and created chemical vapors near homes in the city’s Alden Village neighborhood.
A group of 130 homeowners is planning to file suit in Wayne County Circuit Court on Wednesday morning. They hope to force Ford to clean up the area and pay restitution to residents and businesses affected by the pollution.
It would be the second suit filed against the Dearborn automaker over the chemical plume – the first was raised by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in federal court and settled in July.
Ford was ordered to pay $45,000 in fees to the state for chemical testing and other services. The company must also monitor the area and act accordingly if pollution beings to cause any drastic environmental or health problems in the neighborhood.
The new lawsuit will allege that ruling doesn’t go far enough.
“The suit filed by MDEQ, and the investigation and cleanup that Ford has agreed on paper to do, may be a good start,” said Norm Berger, an attorney representing the homeowners.
“But all of this will mean nothing if Ford does not conduct a thorough investigation and remediation of the enormous pool of toxic chemical it has dumped on its property. Our clients plan to stay vigilant and hold MDEQ and Ford accountable.”
The company discovered the massive of plume of two carcinogenic chemicals used as cleaning agents underneath its Transmission Plant, 36200 Plymouth Road, during renovations in 2014.
The chemicals were dumped sometime during the 1980s, according to Ford remediation teams.
Local businesses were notified that the chemicals may have leached into groundwater and soil by Ford and the MDEQ in 2016.
Ford began pulling groundwater samples from adjacent neighborhoods for testing that year, prompting the MDEQ lawsuit.
The chemicals in question are vinyl chloride and trichloroethylene, a degreaser and cleaning agent for parts.
Residents are now concerned that the chemicals could affect drinking water and evaporate as toxic gas.
“As it is for most families, these families’ homes are their nest egg. It’s what they have worked their whole life to earn, and, hopefully, to leave to their children,” said attorney Shawn Collins.
“When toxic chemicals invade their neighborhood, it threatens not only the value of that nest egg, but also the peace and security they should be able to enjoy in their homes.”
Ford responded to neighborhood concerns in 2015 by creating a website for what they called the “Ford Livonia Boston Beacon Project.”
The website updates residents and businesses with groundwater sample testing results, monitoring processes and an FAQ section.
It’s latest update was posted on July 25, four days after the court settlement.
“We will continue our work to address the issue,” the company said.
“Importantly, all samples collected today show: no health risk to residents, and no impact on your home’s drinking water.”
Residents are encouraged to either call the MDEQ or reach out to Ford if problems persist at 844-511-1002.