MDCH Seeks Public Comment On Grassy Island Health Consultation

Armen Hareyan's picture

A Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) public health consultation indicates that an island in the Detroit River currently poses no apparent health hazard, but future use of the property will determine if the property continues to remain safe.

The draft Public Health Consultation for Grassy Island-now available for public comment-found that contamination at the island currently poses no apparent public health hazard.

Grassy Island is a former diked disposal facility in the Detroit River in Wayne County near Wyandotte. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers placed dredged sediments from the River Rouge onto the facility. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the island as part of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.


Grassy Island is contaminated with metals, PCBs, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. It is not open to the public currently, but may be in the future. Due to minimal exposure, there is no apparent public health hazard currently.

If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service open the island to public use in the future, the Service should prevent unacceptable exposures to the soil, the consultation said. If hunting is allowed on the island, contaminant levels in resident waterfowl and game should be assessed. There are physical hazards present on the island, such as steep dike walls, that should be addressed before allowing public access. Lastly, the Service should regularly assess dike integrity.

MDCH invites the public to review the Public Health Consultation and offer comments on it. Copies of the Public Health Consultation are available for public review at Bacon Memorial Library, 45 Vinewood, Wyandotte. The MDCH Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology conducted the Public Health Consultation for Grassy Island under a cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Information and comments should be addressed to Christina Bush, MDCH, Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, Capitol View Building, P.O. Box 30195, Lansing, Michigan 48909.