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The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the MichiganDepartment of Community Health (MDCH) have a cooperative agreement for conductingassessments and consultations regarding potential health hazards at toxic chemical contaminationsites within the State of Michigan. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ),Superfund Section, has asked the MDCH to evaluate any health risks associated with severalproperties included in the Brownfield Pilot Projects in Detroit and other cities in Michigan.

A Brownfield parcel is an abandoned property, formerly used for industrial or commercialpurposes, that some industrial or commercial entity has expressed an interest in acquiring forfuture use. The local governmental entities have asked the MDEQ to conduct environmentalassessments of the Brownfield properties in their jurisdiction. The MDEQ has consulted with theMDCH concerning public health aspects of these assessments.

The MDCH health consultation for a Brownfield property includes consideration of the following fundamental questions:

  • Are there any imminent or urgent threats to public health associated with the property?
  • Does the proposed future use of the property pose any long-term public health hazard?
  • What specific actions, if any, are necessary to make the property safe for future use?
  • Is there enough information available to answer these questions, and if not, what additional information is needed?


The Bay City Airport Property is a 15-acre undeveloped parcel on the Saginaw River adjacent tothe James Clemmons Municipal Airport south of Bay City, Michigan. The City of Bay City ownsthe property and proposes to build a boat launching ramp there.

Based on the available data and information, the soil and sediment on the property poses nohuman health hazard under the proposed future use as a boat launching ramp. The shallowgroundwater under the property contains metals at levels above drinking water standards. TheMDCH recommends that the groundwater on the property not be used for any purpose when the property is developed.


The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has asked the MichiganDepartment of Community Health (MDCH) to evaluate the health risks associated with the BayCity Airport property as part of a Brownfields Project.

The Bay City Airport (BCA) property is a fifteen-acre, undeveloped tract of land on the east bankof the Saginaw River adjacent to the James Clemmons Municipal Airport south of Bay City,Michigan (Figure 1). There is very little information available about past uses of the property. Aerial photos of the area from 1933, 1950, and 1966 show that the property was covered by amixture of woods and open meadows. An aerial photo from 1977 indicates that the soil andvegetative cover on the property had been greatly disturbed or removed. A 1986 aerial photoshowed that the vegetative cover on the property had grown back. Representatives of the BayCity government have said that the property had been filled with dredge spoils at some time in thepast. The Bay City government owns the property, and proposes to build a boat launching rampon it (1).

The BCA parcel is bounded by the Saginaw River on the west, a creek and a wooded area on thenorth, a canal and a field on the east, and airport property on the south.

In June 1997, the MDEQ conducted field work for a Brownfields Redevelopment Assessment(BFRA) of the BCA property (1, 2). On June 18, 1997, while the MDEQ was collecting samples on the property, MDCH staff visited it.

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