pollution http://michiganradio.org en Boom, bust, boom: a story about copper and the price we pay for it http://michiganradio.org/post/boom-bust-boom-story-about-copper-and-price-we-pay-it <p></p><p>Copper.</p><p>Its use in our lives is astounding, and so is the cost of mining it. When Bill Carter moved to Bisbee, Arizona, he found himself directly affected by the mining history in the town.</p><p>And so he wrote “Boom, Bust, Boom: A Story About Copper, The Metal That Runs The World.” The book comes from his firsthand experience with the effects of living in a copper-mining town.</p><p>Carter calls copper the invisible metal. We hear a lot about gold, aluminum, and iron. But the 400 pounds of copper in our homes, 9,000 pounds in airplanes, and 50 pounds in our cars, is overlooked as it “runs modern civilization.”</p><p> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 18:03:58 +0000 Stateside Staff 18694 at http://michiganradio.org Boom, bust, boom: a story about copper and the price we pay for it Unraveling the mysteries of the GI Bill, Coast Guard and EPA http://michiganradio.org/post/unraveling-mysteries-gi-bill-coast-guard-and-epa <p><strong>Update 10:30 p.m.</strong></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The showed has already aired on Michigan Radio. If you missed it, you can catch it again&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.prx.org/pieces/120268-reveal-pilot-3" style="line-height: 1.5;"><strong>here</strong></a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Original post- 11:30 a.m.</span></strong></p><p>Who’s really benefiting from the GI Bill? Why does the U.S. Coast Guard have some explaining to do? How much arsenic in our water is actually safe? There’s always more to the story.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“Reveal,” the radio show dedicated to investigative reporting, is back. Brought to you by </span><a href="http://cironline.org/" style="line-height: 1.5;">The Center for Investigative Reporting</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and </span><a href="http://www.prx.org/" style="line-height: 1.5;">PRX</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, the third pilot episode examines the value of a degree from a for-profit colleges reaping millions of dollars from GI Bill funds, explores the Coast Guard’s shaky safety record, exposes the backroom deals over arsenic in our water and delves into the secrecy around lethal injection drugs.</span></p><p><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">Catch Reveal tonight on Michigan Radio at 7 p.m.!</strong></p><p><em style="line-height: 1.5;"><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">Here’s a rundown of the stories you’ll hear:</strong></em></p><p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 02:30:00 +0000 Reveal Radio 18194 at http://michiganradio.org Unraveling the mysteries of the GI Bill, Coast Guard and EPA Obama administration wants more money for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative http://michiganradio.org/post/obama-administration-wants-more-money-great-lakes-restoration-initiative <p>A popular program to improve the environment around the Great Lakes could be extended. A task force including 11 federal agencies and led by the Environmental Protection Agency <a href="http://glri.us/pdfs/20140530-draft-glri-action-plan-2-reduced.pdf">released a draft of the updated plan Friday</a> for public review.</p><p>Congress has already approved $1.6 billion on the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/term/great-lakes-restoration-initiative">Great Lakes Restoration Initiative</a>. An updated blueprint calls for another $275 million annually over the next five years.&nbsp;</p><p>A big chunk of that money helped jump start efforts to clean up industrial pollution that happened decades ago. There are 14 of these so-called "toxic hot spots" in Michigan on a list of Areas of Concern. Cleanup efforts have been underway since the 1980s.</p><p>“They’ve been on the list for far too long. We need to give these harbor side and riverside communities some relief and get them cleaned up,” Cameron Davis said. He’s a senior advisor to the administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency. Fri, 30 May 2014 21:28:05 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17812 at http://michiganradio.org Obama administration wants more money for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Lester Graham's upcoming documentary, "Growing up in Poverty and Pollution" http://michiganradio.org/post/lester-grahams-upcoming-documentary-growing-poverty-and-pollution <p></p><p>Children growing up in poverty face huge challenges. One challenge that might not come to the top of the mind, though, is pollution.</p><p>As part of Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, reporter Lester Graham spent the past three months exploring the problem.</p><p>His documentary, "Growing up in Poverty and Pollution," will air tomorrow at 3 p.m. on Michigan Radio.</p><p>Lester joined us today to talk about his project.</p><p><em>*Listen to the audio above.</em></p><p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:37:15 +0000 Stateside Staff 17336 at http://michiganradio.org Lester Graham's upcoming documentary, "Growing up in Poverty and Pollution" Southwest Detroit is Michigan's most-polluted area http://michiganradio.org/post/southwest-detroit-michigans-most-polluted-area <p></p><p>Studies by environmental scientists find that 48217 is the most polluted zip code in the entire state of Michigan.</p><p>It's the zip for the Boynton neighborhood in southwest Detroit, perched next to the Marathon Refinery, which refines tar sands oil that comes from Canada.</p><p>The byproduct of that tar sands refining? Those huge piles of pet coke that appeared along the banks of the Detroit River last year before being removed.</p><p>For many people who call the Boynton neighborhood home, life is about belching smoke stacks, terrible odors, worries about what chemicals they're being exposed to, and declining property values.</p><p>Renee Lewis recently reported on "Life in Michigan's Dirtiest Zip Code" for Al Jazeera America, and she joined us today.</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></p><p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:54:28 +0000 Stateside Staff 17235 at http://michiganradio.org Southwest Detroit is Michigan's most-polluted area You pay about a penny per gallon of gas to clean up pollution, but is that money spent well? http://michiganradio.org/post/you-pay-about-penny-gallon-gas-clean-pollution-money-spent-well <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Every time you fill up, you pay seven-eighths of a cent per gallon of gas for a “regulatory fee” that was originally set up to help clean up the thousands of old underground storage tanks in Michigan.</span></p><p>Those pennies you pay at the pump add up to a $50 million pot of money each year.</p><p>It’s called the Refined Petroleum Fund. The fund worked initially. The money helped remove tens of thousands of old underground storage tanks in Michigan. When those old tanks leak, they can pollute the soil and ruin nearby water sources.</p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:57:21 +0000 Mark Brush 17193 at http://michiganradio.org You pay about a penny per gallon of gas to clean up pollution, but is that money spent well? Can sewage treatment plants protect fish from the chemicals in the water? http://michiganradio.org/post/can-sewage-treatment-plants-protect-fish-chemicals-water <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">S</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">o you know the saying, right? </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>Stuff </em>flows downhill?&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Myron Erickson knows a lot about that "stuff."</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">He heads up the sewage treatment plant that sits along the Grand River in Wyoming, Michigan (right next to Grand Rapids).</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The screening room is where they take out the "grit." Erickson calls them "knick knacks."</span></p> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 14:38:51 +0000 Mark Brush 16047 at http://michiganradio.org Can sewage treatment plants protect fish from the chemicals in the water? Michigan town looks forward to cleaning up mess left behind by chemical company http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-town-looks-forward-cleaning-mess-left-behind-chemical-company <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Forty years ago a chemical mix-up led to one of Michigan’s worst environmental tragedies, and it’s not over yet.</span></p><p>The mix-up occurred in early 1973 at the former Michigan Chemical Corporation plant (which later became the Vesicol&nbsp;Chemical Corporation) in St. Louis, Mich. The company accidentally shipped flame-retardant chemicals to livestock farms around the state.</p><p>Farmers thought they were getting a feed supplement. Instead, they were dosing their animals with the toxic chemical <a href="http://www.epa.gov/fedfac/pdf/technical_fact_sheet_pbde_pbb.pdf">PBB</a>.</p><p>The problem wasn’t discovered for another year -- and the chemicals were passed up the food chain to humans. Thu, 17 Oct 2013 13:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith & Mark Brush 14869 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan town looks forward to cleaning up mess left behind by chemical company New MSU study looks into the effects of dioxins on human health http://michiganradio.org/post/new-msu-study-looks-effects-dioxins-human-health <p>Dioxins are environmental pollutants that are known to be toxic to many animal species, and since dioxins work their way up the food chain, there needs to be a clearer understanding of their effects on humans.</p><p>That's why we wanted you to know about a more than $14 million study being launched at Michigan State University. Researchers hope to get a better idea of how dioxins affect human health and they hope to figure out new ways of removing them from the environment.</p><p>Norbert Kaminski directs Michigan State University's Center for Integrative Toxicology and he is the lead researcher in this major study. He joined us today from the campus in East Lansing.</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></p><p> Thu, 25 Jul 2013 01:42:21 +0000 Stateside Staff 13673 at http://michiganradio.org New MSU study looks into the effects of dioxins on human health 10 percent of Michigan's septic fields stink: 130,000 of them failed http://michiganradio.org/post/10-percent-michigans-septic-fields-stink-130000-them-failed <p>You're about to read something you might not want to spend much time thinking about, but that doesn't mean it's not important.&nbsp;</p><p>That subject is septic fields. Of the 1.3 million wastewater treatment systems in Michigan, nearly 10 percent have failed. That's about 130,000 systems.&nbsp;</p><p>With thousands of failing septic systems throughout the state, what's that doing to our water?</p><p>Michigan is the only state in the Union that doesn't have uniform standards governing how on-site sewage treatment systems should be designed, built, installed and maintained.&nbsp;</p><p>Jeff Alexander recently examined the state of Michigan's septic fields in an article featured in <a href="http://bridgemi.com/2013/05/michigan-has-nations-weakest-regulations-on-septic-systems/">Bridge Magazine</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Alexander about what scientists at Michigan State are finding.</p><p><em>For those unsavory details and more, click the audio link above. &nbsp;</em></p><p> Thu, 16 May 2013 21:33:57 +0000 Stateside Staff 12608 at http://michiganradio.org 10 percent of Michigan's septic fields stink: 130,000 of them failed State tests: Mounds of oil refinery byproduct safe http://michiganradio.org/post/state-tests-mounds-oil-refinery-byproduct-safe <p>DETROIT (AP) - Tests by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality have found that hulking black mounds along the banks of the Detroit River in southwest Detroit don't pose a threat to human health.</p><p>The petroleum coke, or pet coke, mounds are a byproduct of oil refining used in energy production. The material has been brought by trucks from the nearby Marathon Petroleum Co. refinery, and the mounds drew attention starting earlier this year.</p><p><a href="http://bit.ly/ZBCQx8">The Detroit News</a> reported the MDEQ's findings Friday.</p><p>Area residents, the Canadian government and U.S. lawmakers are among those concerned about potential pollution and health effects.</p><p>Findlay, Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum says the pet coke stored along the Detroit River is no longer owned by the company. If stored properly, however, Marathon says pet coke poses no environmental concerns. Fri, 19 Apr 2013 19:35:00 +0000 The Associated Press 12222 at http://michiganradio.org State tests: Mounds of oil refinery byproduct safe Sierra Club report: Pollution hits southeast Michigan's poor hardest http://michiganradio.org/post/sierra-club-report-pollution-hits-southeast-michigans-poor-hardest <p>Detroit and its downriver suburbs have some serious pollution problems.</p><p>And according to a new Sierra Club report, <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20130404/NEWS05/130404027/Sierra-Club-pollution-environment-Detroit">the greatest effects fall</a> on poor, largely non-white communities.</p><p>The report deals with environmental justice in southeast Michigan—the idea that poor, minority communities tend to shoulder the burdens of pollution.</p><p>It details toxic emissions from six major sources in and around Detroit—five of which are clustered in the downriver area.</p> Fri, 05 Apr 2013 21:47:30 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 12030 at http://michiganradio.org Sierra Club report: Pollution hits southeast Michigan's poor hardest Cleaning up a big, underground mess in Michigan (PHOTOS) http://michiganradio.org/post/cleaning-big-underground-mess-michigan-photos <p>There are around 4,800 gas stations in Michigan, but at one time, there were a lot more. It seemed like just about every corner had a gas station on it.</p><p>Many of those gas stations are closed now, but taxpayers are often on the hook for what’s been left behind.</p><p>I visited one of these polluted sites recently with representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The heavy traffic along State Route 89 near Battle Creek makes it a perfect place for a gas station.</p><p>And for a long time, things were going well for Logan’s Gas and Deli.</p> Thu, 20 Sep 2012 14:10:06 +0000 Mark Brush 9163 at http://michiganradio.org Cleaning up a big, underground mess in Michigan (PHOTOS) Dow chemical sampling properties in Midland, Michigan for dioxin pollution http://michiganradio.org/post/dow-chemical-sampling-properties-midland-michigan-dioxin-pollution <p>MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says Dow Chemical Co. is ahead of schedule as it samples residential properties in Midland for dioxin.</p><p>The DEQ this week approved Dow's request to begin work on 300 properties that had been scheduled for inspection next year.</p><p>It's part of a five-year plan to clean up neighborhoods contaminated for decades by airborne dioxin from a Dow plant in Midland, where the company is based.</p><p>Of about 150 properties sampled thus far, 22 have had dioxin levels higher than 250 parts per trillion, which triggers a company-funded cleanup if the owners want it.</p><p>Results from this fall's sampling will be available next spring. Any needed cleanups will get started then.</p><p>Dow is negotiating with federal officials over cleanup of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers. Fri, 14 Sep 2012 15:59:47 +0000 The Associated Press 9093 at http://michiganradio.org Dow chemical sampling properties in Midland, Michigan for dioxin pollution DTE to start pollution cleanup in Ann Arbor this week http://michiganradio.org/post/dte-start-pollution-cleanup-ann-arbor-week <p>Starting today, DTE plans to bring in the heavy equipment needed for the pollution cleanup along the Huron River west of the Broadway Bridge in Ann Arbor.</p><p><a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/cleaning-pollution-puzzle-ann-arbor-photos">Black, oily coal tar pollution has been underground for decades</a>.</p><p>It was left behind by an old manufactured gas plant owned by the utility company.&nbsp;Two years ago regulators discovered the coal tar was getting into the river.&nbsp;Now, DTE plans to spend between $2-3 million digging it out.</p> Mon, 20 Aug 2012 12:14:52 +0000 Mark Brush 8724 at http://michiganradio.org DTE to start pollution cleanup in Ann Arbor this week Cleaning up a pollution puzzle in Ann Arbor (PHOTOS) http://michiganradio.org/post/cleaning-pollution-puzzle-ann-arbor-photos <p>The city of Ann Arbor recently spent more than one million dollars rebuilding an old mill race along the Huron River. The Argo Cascades is a series of little waterfalls and pools where kayakers and people floating in inner tubes come to cool off.</p><p>But downstream from the Cascades on the other side of the river, there’s a problem.</p><p>There's been pollution lurking underground for some time from an old industrial plant, and two years ago regulators found that some of the pollution was making its way into the Huron River.</p><p><strong>The days before natural gas</strong></p> Tue, 31 Jul 2012 13:00:25 +0000 Mark Brush 8471 at http://michiganradio.org Cleaning up a pollution puzzle in Ann Arbor (PHOTOS) PCB cleanup continues along Kalamazoo River http://michiganradio.org/post/pcb-cleanup-continues-along-kalamazoo-river <p>KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Cleanup of sediments contaminated with PCBs continues along parts of the Kalamazoo River. Sun, 24 Jun 2012 17:50:36 +0000 The Associated Press 8003 at http://michiganradio.org PCB cleanup continues along Kalamazoo River Report: No contamination found in well water in Kalamazoo River oil spill zone http://michiganradio.org/post/report-no-contamination-found-well-water-kalamazoo-river-oil-spill-zone <p>Tests suggest household wells near the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill have not been contaminated.</p><p><a href="http://www.epa.gov/enbridgespill/">A pipeline break</a> in July, 2010, resulted in more than 800 thousand gallons of crude oil leaking into the Kalamazoo River.&nbsp;&nbsp; The cleanup of the river and the surrounding area continues.</p><p>Health officials have spent the past few years testing 150 wells in the spill zone. Tue, 22 May 2012 18:40:37 +0000 Steve Carmody 7567 at http://michiganradio.org Report: No contamination found in well water in Kalamazoo River oil spill zone New outdoor burning law limits what can be torched http://michiganradio.org/post/new-outdoor-burning-law-limits-what-can-be-torched <p>A new law will soon limit the types of waste that can be thrown into pits and barrels to be burned. Plastics, chemically treated wood, and electronics are among the types of trash that cannot be burned.</p><p>The new rules don&rsquo;t go as far as some people wanted, which was to ban outdoor burning altogether.</p><p>There were fights between neighbors about drifting smoke&nbsp; -- in some cases, causing or aggravating asthma attacks.</p><p>But burning waste is so common in parts of rural Michigan that a compromise was struck. Some of the most toxic materials are banned, but grass, leaves and other yard waste can still be burned.</p><p>The director of the state Department of Environmental Quality Dan Wyant said he hopes this is the beginning of a culture change in rural Michigan.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ll go out, and we&rsquo;re trying to educate,&rdquo; said Wyant. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not trying to be heavy-handed in our enforcement, but we will communicate about the law, and we do want to move away from outdoor burning.&rdquo;</p><p>The new rules become enforceable in six months. Thu, 19 Apr 2012 18:14:37 +0000 Rick Pluta 7116 at http://michiganradio.org New outdoor burning law limits what can be torched Ann Arbor pollution cleanup plan, public meeting tonight http://michiganradio.org/post/ann-arbor-pollution-cleanup-plan-public-meeting-tonight <p>Tonight at Cobblestone Farm in Ann Arbor, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public meeting to discuss a plan to clean up toxic pollution along the banks of the Huron River.</p><p>The soil near the Huron River just downriver of Argo Dam has been contaminated with substances leftover from an old manufactured gas plant that operated from around the 1900s to the 1940s.</p><p>Manufactured gas plants converted coal to gas for street lamps, cooking, and heating prior to the widespread use of natural gas.</p><p>But back in those days, converting coal to gas left behind some nasty pollution. And the tarry, oily-like pollution can bubble up decades later - as it has in Ann Arbor.</p><p>The site in Ann Arbor is owned by the Michigan Consolidated Gas Company (MichCon), a subsidiary of DTE Energy.</p><p>You can get an idea of where the pollution is on the site by clicking through the images above.</p><p>In a <a href="ftp://ftp.deq.state.mi.us/deq-outgoing/MichCon%20Broadway/MichCon%20Broadway%20Street%20Response%20Activies%20Plan.pdf">pollution response plan</a> filed on behalf of MichCon, several pollutants were noted.</p><ul><li>Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) (associated with petroleum releases);</li><li>Total polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (associated with MGP tar and/or petroleum releases);</li><li>Metals (arsenic, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, silver, thallium, and vanadium) (some of these metals (e.g., arsenic) may be from natural background);</li><li>Ammonia; and</li><li>Available cyanide.</li></ul><p>Here&#39;s more on tonight&#39;s public meeting from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality:</p><blockquote><p>MichCon property owners are proposing to remove sediment, near shore soil, and some contaminated upland soil from the Huron River and its south bank at the MichCon plant site near Broadway Street. This plan requires a construction permit from DEQ.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The public meeting and hearing will be held at Cobblestone Farm, located at 2781 Packard Road in Ann Arbor. Doors will open in the big barn on the second floor at 6 p.m. for informal discussion with DEQ staff, followed by a public meeting at 7 p.m., and a formal hearing to gather public comment around 8 p.m. &nbsp;</p><p>As part of the permit review process, the DEQ also is accepting written public comment on the plan through April 30, 2012.</p></blockquote><p>DTE Energy is planning several methods to control the pollution on the site, including removing polluted sediment, and capping and collecting other sources of pollution.</p><p><a href="http://www.annarbor.com/news/deq-seeking-comment-on-cleanup-of-old-michcon-site-along-huron-river/">AnnArbor.com&#39;s Ryan Stanton</a> reports Ann Arbor city officials are anxious to see it cleaned up:</p><blockquote><p>Ann Arbor officials expect the cleanup to take place starting this summer. DTE has vowed to pay for whitewater improvements along the river as part of the project.</p><p>Matt Naud, the city&#39;s environmental coordinator, expects the cleanup project will go before the Ann Arbor Planning Commission for site plan approval because it will disturb natural features, but he doesn&#39;t expect that to be a significant issue.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re just glad this significant level of cleanup is happening,&quot; Naud said. &quot;It&#39;s a big project. They&#39;re going to be moving a lot of soil.&quot; Tue, 10 Apr 2012 21:00:59 +0000 Mark Brush 6991 at http://michiganradio.org Ann Arbor pollution cleanup plan, public meeting tonight