UPDATED: This story has been updated to include information from Thursday’s meeting.
DELTA TWP., Mich. (WLNS) – Officials from the Lansing Board of Water and Light have been working to clean up coal ash at the Erickson Power Plant since it retired last year.
Coal ash is the remains of coal after it has been burnt to generate electricity. It is considered an environmental contaminant.
People who live near the plant are concerned the toxins from the coal ash have leaked into the water and contaminated it.
State officials and environmental advocates will review water testing results from the state and discuss what those findings mean.
The Erickson power station was mothballed in November 2022. This spring, BWL began pumping coal ash ponds.
Utility officials say they are monitoring water data from wells on site as well as from more than a dozen private wells of nearby residents. Some of those homes are receiving bottled water – at the request of the residents – at BWL expense. That decision was supported by information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Jonathan Kermiet lives near the decommissioned plant. He’s looking forward to his neighbors getting a better understanding of the water testing data and its implications.
“I think there’s a lot of sometimes confusion and sometimes just not paying attention to what might be of crucial concern, and especially if they have children,” he tells 6 News. “I think that’s another issue: children and pets, should they be drinking the water?”
BWL officials were invited to the event Thursday night, but organizers tell 6 News say the company declined to participate. BWL officials say they are aware of the event.
State environmental researchers say BWL has been pulling data from multiple wells both in and on the property.
One question that remains during this ongoing investigation is finding what is naturally occurring and what is linked to coal ash.
“We’re in a situation here where we have these contaminates in residential wells and we have them as contaminates from coal ash and we need to figure out if it’s naturally occurring or not,” Evin Maguire, a geologist with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, said.
Despite the many people in attendance, some left expressing frustration they still don’t have all their questions answered. They acknowledged the meeting was a step in the right direction.