The city of Detroit is finally going to clean up Conner Creek, a major dumping ground of raw sewage from Oakland and Wayne counties. Well, some of it. And no one knows for sure how the project will affect those who live near the creek.
Earlier this month, Richard Hinshon, environmental consultant for the city, met with about 30 Detroit residents who live near Conner Creek, which sits east of Belle Isle and flows into the Detroit River. Part of the cleanup includes the construction of a combined sewerage overflow (CSO) basin that will better clean the sewerage waste and overflow that occurs during heavy rain storms.
But to build the $190-million basin, Hinshon explained that 146,000 cubic square yards of sediment must be removed from the creek. Some of that sediment contains lead, cadmium and other toxic material. Area residents fear that when the creek is dredged the toxic material will be stirred up and emitted into the air.
“My concern is, will it be safe for my children?” asked one resident during the meeting with Hinshon, who said he needed to do some research before an answer could be provided.
Environmental activist Pegg Roberts criticized the city for devising a plan she says will remove only about 20 percent of the raw sewerage. At that rate, she says, in 40 years the creek’s sediment will be just as polluted as it is now.
Hinshon contends that about half of the solids will be removed, and the rest will be flushed into the Detroit River instead of settling in the creek bottom. A system that would remove all the waste, he says, would be too expensive.
The city needs a permit from the state to build the CSO. Public hearings on the permit are to begin sometime next year. We’ll keep you posted.Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or firstname.lastname@example.org