No Excessive Radiation Found At Site Of Detroit River Materials Collapse

WWJ News
December 07, 2019 - 11:27 am

DETROIT (WWJ) - State officials say no excessive radiation levels were detected around the Detroit River following a shoreline collapse at a bulk storage site.

The riverfront site, commonly referred to as the Revere Copper & Brass site or Detroit Bulk Storage site, once housed an atomic bomb and uranium development in the 1940s and 1950s. Last week, a seawall collapsed and sent large piles of aggregate spilling into the river.

detroit river collapse
People survey the scene of a Detroit property contaminated with uranium and other dangerous chemicals that partially collapsed into the Detroit River on Friday, December 6, 2019. (© Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy on Friday tested numerious areas around the site, located on West Jefferson Avenue in southwest Detroit, as well as soil in the shore area along the riverfront, and confirmed there is no elevated radiation risk to health or the environment associated with the collapse.

According to the state, background radiation levels at the site farthest away from the river were at 4 microroentgen per hour (Ur/hr). Naturally-occurring radiation levels in Michigan are typically between 5 and 8 Ur/hr. Testing closer to the water, including tests from inside the crevasses opened by the sediment collapse, ranged between 3 and 5 Ur/hr. More than 1,000 data points were recorded during the testing.

Crews also took water samples from the Detroit River upstream and downstream from the site of the limestone pile collapse, as well as in front of the site. The three water samples will be tested for material including suspended solids, metals (including uranium), PCBs, and industrial contaminants. It's not clear how long the test results will take, though state officials say the samples will be processed at an expedited timeframe.