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Dangerous chemicals found on properties in Holly Twp., neighbors blame nearby development

'I just want to run, I want to get out of here but I don’t know how. '
Posted at 4:05 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 18:28:02-04

(WXYZ) — The 7 Investigators first told you about flooding in Holly Township that neighbors say has gotten out of control thanks to a nearby mobile home development.

Now those families have come together to pay for their own water and soil testing, and they say the results are alarming.

Every time it rains, the families that live near the Holly Hills Mobile Home Park say their yards turn into rushing rivers. And it’s what’s in the water that has them worried.

“It’s scaring the heck out of me,” said Denise Cantu, who lives nearby.

Related: "It's ruined my life." Holly Twp. neighbors blame new development for flooding their properties

Cantu says ever since the mobile home park started tearing down trees and expanding in 2021, water runs from Holly Hills, across an old dump and onto her property. Neighbors say they were never told about the dump before they moved in.

Recent testing revealed PFAS — the dangerous forever chemicals that can hurt your immune system and cause cancer — in the area.

The neighbors along Falk Road held a fundraiser to pay for their own PFAS testing. Last month they teamed up with the Sierra Club to take their own soil and water samples, and now they have those results.

“There’s potential for health impacts, real health impacts to people,” said Denise Trabbic-Pointer, Sierra Club Toxics and Remediation Specialist.

Trabbic-Pointer says that even though none of the PFAS levels are above the state limits, the test results are very concerning.

“It’s telling me that the problem is widespread — that it’s going to be very difficult to get their hands around and figure out what the source is,” said Trabbic-Pointer.

Trabbic-Pointer says the soil sample from the discharge site for the mobile home park’s wastewater treatment plant had one form of the chemical, PFOS, detected at 250 parts per trillion.

“So that PFOS that’s staying in the soil, it’s going to continue to leach,” said Trabbic-Pointer. “And the more you have water flowing across it, it’s going to move it.”

Trabbic-Pointer says the levels were the highest at Denise Cantu’s home, which is where the water flows from Holly Hills. Cantu’s land is right next to Rice Lake.

“It’s going to keep on releasing PFOS compounds to surface water. And that surface water is on its way to Rice Lake and Bush Lake,” said Trabbic-Pointer.

In fact, neighbors say they recently documented foam, which can be a sign of PFAS/PFOS, along the shoreline of Bush Lake.

“It’s killing me. I just want to run, I want to get out of here but I don’t know how. I don’t know how to get out of here and I don’t know how to make this stop cause it’s just too hard to get anyone to listen to us. It’s so upsetting,” said Cantu.

Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is reviewing the latest test results. They’re also right now developing a work plan for these Holly Township locations, which will include a hydrogeologic study of the groundwater flow in the area as well as more groundwater testing.

The state has also requested fish and surface water sampling of Bush and Rice Lakes, and the fish test data has been sent to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Yes Communities is the owner of the Holly Hills mobile home park, they have not responded to our repeated requests for an interview.

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