Torch Lake Superfund Site Meeting

Both the water and the historic structures appear to be safe in the Torch Lake Superfund area.
At a public meeting held in Lake Linden, residents were given a presentation by the Michigan Department of Community Health on the results of two recent assessments.
The first dealt with the testing of the drinking water in and around Torch Lake.
MDCH toxicologist Christina Bush says the municipal water that they looked at the data for is just fine, but she says there’s not enough data about private wells to form any conclusions about them.
It was recommended that owners of residential wells have their own tests done to be sure.
The hot topic was the recommendation by the MDCH to remove or restrict structures left over from mining operations that may pose safety risks.
These included knocking down smokestacks, removing the Torch Lake Dredge and fencing off ruined facility sites that have been nicknamed by some as the Hubbel Rubble.
Despite warnings from the state, no other organization expressed support for taking away what Copper Country residents have come to hold so dear.
Tom Baker with the Keweenaw National Historical Park says once you move the facilities from their place of origin, a certain power of place is lost.
He says anyone who’s visited Ellis Island, which many thousands of mine workers came through, can understand the power of place has a great deal to do with understanding historic resources and the story that they relate.
The DEQ said there’s no evidence that the physical hazards pose any danger to the environment.
The group even says that removing them could have actually have a negative effect on the surroundings.
DEQ Superfund manager Scott Cornelius says it helps to be careful about what we remove, and to ask about the historical value of anything in the area before it’s removed, but he says any removals would have to be worked out with the landowners.

Posted by: Mike Hoey

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