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Health, Science and Environment

Gratiot County receives money for Velsicol cleanup

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Flickr user David Lofink
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https://flic.kr/p/9siuaH

The EPA has awarded nearly 10 million dollars to begin cleanup of the old Velsicol chemical plant in Saint Louis, in Gratiot County.

Local advocates said they’re excited for EPA support after decades of chemicals leaching into nearby groundwater.

Jane Keon is the former chair of the Pine River Superfund Citizen Task Force. She said hired contractors will run high voltage electricity through the ground to volatilize the chemicals.

“DBCP is highly toxic to males. Just breathing a little bit of that will sterilize a male. So that’s why they’re doing the in ground treatment. They want to keep as much of that really toxic, volatile stuff underground”.

Keon said the nine-point-seven million dollar award is just the beginning.

“It’s pretty much a drop in the bucket. It will pay completely, for the in situ thermal treatment that’s supposed to take place in about 10 acres of the site. The site is 52 acres all together”.

Keon said the Velsicol site will require an additional 10 to 20 years for complete remediation and will carry a price tag upwards of 300 million dollars.

However, she said getting funds from the EPA once typically ensures more funding in the future.