Redevelopment of the shuttered Buick City industrial facility in Flint, Mich. is delayed after state and federal investigators discovered the presence of PFAS at the property. RACER Trust, which manages General Motors property, is halting the sale of property parcels, according to MLive.
“RACER Trust is continuing the active marketing of its Buick City property, but will not close on a sale for development until we have a deeper understanding of PFAS impacts at the site and, in consultation with regulatory authorities, determine a comprehensive remedial strategy,” Bruce Rasher, RACER’s redevelopment manager, told the publication.
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances)—including PFOS and PFOA—are a group of man-made chemicals that can accumulate in the human body over time causing adverse health effects such as cancer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Investigators aren’t worried about contaminants entering the local drinking water supply. Nearby households receive water from the city. Groundwater wells near the site aren’t in the direction of groundwater flow. The bigger concern is with PFAS entering the Flint River. While it’s unclear if PFAS have left the property and entered the waterway, other chemicals have found their way to the river through the storm sewer system.
The EPA has been overseeing cleanup at the site since 2000, long before GM closed the 413-acre facility in 2010. RACER Trust has sold about 49 acres of the property. The property is massive, measuring two miles in length, which makes pinpointing the location of PFAS and other contaminants difficult.
Testing in April discovered PFOS and PFOA as high as 614 parts per trillion (ppt) in three of eight groundwater monitoring wells. In August, that number increased to 767 ppt. RACER Trust has a $33 million fund dedicated to cleaning up the property before it’s sold and redeveloped. Some of that money will now go toward PFAS cleanup.