Contaminants decreasing at Cliffs-Dow site

Contaminants decreasing at Cliffs-Dow site

The Cliffs-Dow site in Marquette is seeing a decreasing trend in chemicals emitted into the groundwater.

Monday evening, the Marquette City Commission heard an update on the site, which has seen contamination for a few decades.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality asked the city to look at the site again in 2009.  And, according to some recent data, chemicals and contaminants are decreasing on the property.

“We’re looking at what we’re seeing both interior to the site, as well as what we’re seeing at the lakeshore area,” Richard Baron, an attorney with Foley, Baron & Metzger Law Firm who has been working with the city said.  “There’s well that are called groundwater surface water interface–or GSI wells–that are put in to specifically monitor the level of the chemicals that are getting close to the lake.”

Even though there is a decrease in contaminants, monitoring will continue on the property.

“One of the things that we’re looking to do in discussions with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is see whether certain portions of the site might be addressed differently,” Baron said.  “For instance, perhaps on the northern part of the site there might only be limited things that need to be done, the southern portion of the site perhaps there’s nothing that needs to be done whereas the middle portion of the site might be an area that continues to be evaluated for the groundwater.”

Most of the contaminants come from the site’s industrial building that used to distill wood.  The process created a mixture of chemicals that seeped into the groundwater and into the surrounding soil.