Trees being removed in contaminated town - WNEM TV 5

Trees being removed in contaminated town

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It's not just the sounds of fireworks across Mid-Michigan, a local community has had to deal with the sound of chainsaws.

More than 100 trees are being torn down after reports of contaminated soil.

The Environmental Protection Agency is excavating properties across the St. Louis area.

"Right now they're digging up all the trees in the yard, trying to get rid of all of the contamination," Joseph Cluley said.

On this Fourth of July weekend, some St. Louis residents aren't really focused on firing up the grill.

"They're talking about maybe even taking up some of our basement because of all the damage the contamination caused," Cluley said.

As part of the agency's cleanup efforts, 115 trees are being removed from St. Louis.

"I don't think much of the EPA," Charles Hammond said.

Hammond has lived in St. Louis for several decades.

"It's been 30 some years since that factory was here," he said.

The factory was owned by Michigan Chemical Corporation. They were involved in one of Michigan's worst environmental catastrophes.

"It's been many years coming. I don't really think they knew how big a problem we had," Susan Sinclair said.

To date, taxpayers have spent more than $300 million cleaning up the chemical mix-up that happened in 1973, passing chemicals on to humans. Sinclair said she just wants to return to the way things used to be.

"We all want to eat and fish. It's a long time coming," she said.

Some residents said they've tried moving but simply can't.

"No one will buy," Cluley said.

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