Who’s On First?
Officials in suburban Detroit point fingers over contaminated park
You remember when Katrina hit, and officials spent their time blaming each other instead of helping people? This is sort of like that, only smaller, and with less wind. Unsuspecting families in a Detroit suburb have played in a contaminated county park for years while city, county, and state officials argued over a cleanup plan. Repeated soil tests in the park — built atop a landfill in the 1970s — have revealed lead, arsenic, cyanide, mercury, and PCBs. Lead levels are especially worrisome: they range up to 2,100 parts per million; 400 is deemed acceptable. The latest cleanup plan, pending state approval, would cost $500,000 and involve digging up soil from the park’s soccer fields and — wait for it — dumping it on the baseball fields, which would be shut down. The park was closed this weekend, amid finger-pointing over why it had stayed open at all. “Everyone has fallen down on their responsibility here,” said James Clift of the Michigan Environmental Council. Sounds familiar.