Ypsilanti nature trail closed over PCB concerns

Posted at 6:21 PM, Apr 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-11 18:21:33-04

A popular, new trail in Ypsilanti has been closed due to environmental safety concerns.

Part of the Border-to-Border Trail, near Water Street, has been closed along the Huron River.

Beth Ernat, the city’s Director of Economic Development, told 7 Action News that city officials made the move after discovering there are contaminants in the soil in an area nearby.

“The Water Street area was once an industrial area and the city owns the property now. We had demolished all the buildings, so we’ve known there's contamination nearby, but not at the level that we found out this past week,” said Ernat. “There were several businesses out there. There was a paper mill. There was actually a dump, a trash site.  There were some auto repairs and there was some wood milling being done on site.”

While the trail is safe a new test revealed an elevated level of PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) close by.

According to Ernat, temporarily closing the trail is just a proactive, safety precaution.

“Actually our concern isn't for the trail use, it's for anyone who would go off trail or possibly had a pet or have children,” said Ernat.

Crews were testing the area for phase two of the new development in the area. The city hopes to have this all resolved soon.

‘’Very disappointing that we had to close it, but we do want to take every precaution we can with our residents,” said Ernat.

City officials are  hoping to have a plan in place for the trail in the next two because they want residents to be able to use this new trail in time for summer.