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Great Lakes Article:


Cleanup nearly complete, but PCB mystery not solved
The Associated Press
01/04/03


ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. - The final step in purging a Lake St. Clair boat canal of PCBs has been completed under budget and two weeks ahead of schedule, officials say.

The project involved the removal of 16,255 cubic yards of sediment in the Lange-Revere Canal. Dredging began Oct. 18 and was completed in mid-December, said Anthony Marrocco, commissioner of the Macomb County Public Works Department.

A $700,000 state grant awarded in September covered most of the city's share of the $840,680 project, The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens reported Sunday.

"The canal will be tested by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality early (in 2004) to verify that it is free of PCBs," Marrocco said in a release. "The end section of the Ten Mile Drain pipe will be cleaned and the flow will be monitored to guard against recontamination of the canal."

High levels of PCBs also were found in the 258-acre Ten Mile Drain system that carries storm water into Lange-Revere and other boating canals along the lake.

State and county health officials, who have analyzed health data for residents in the affected area, say that no serious health effects have been linked to protracted exposure to PCBs.

But some residents living along the Lange-Revere Canal remain concerned that the source of the banned industrial chemical hasn't been pinpointed.

"We are very happy with the progress made on the canal and happy that part of the canal project has been completed, but we're still concerned the Ten Mile Drain - where we found PCB levels to be very high - has not been cleaned out yet," said Lorol Brackx, a local resident active with a citizens' group called Toxic Free Shores. "They said they were going to clean it out so many feet, put a balloon in there and find what the cause is."

The county soon will solicit bids for identifying the source of the contamination, Marrocco said.

The first phase of the cleanup was completed in March 2003 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which removed 11,000 cubic yards of PCB-tainted soil along the 42-foot wide canal at a cost of just over $6 million.

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