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The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) have a cooperative agreement for conducting assessments and consultations regarding potential health hazards at toxic chemical contamination sites 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 several properties included in the Brownfield Pilot Projects in Detroit and other cities in Michigan.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) defines Brownfields as "abandoned, idled, or under-used" industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. Local governmental entities have asked the MDEQ to conduct environmental assessments of the Brownfield properties in their jurisdiction. The MDEQ has consulted with the MDCH 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 Keit property is approximately 18 acres of wetlands, grasslands, and woods in southwest Bay City, Michigan. There is no record of construction on the property, and since 1886, the property has been used for agriculture. A former irrigation drain across the property now forms a large pond. A large portion of the property has been filled in over the years, and it is not known where the fill material came from. Bay City government has proposed that the property be used as a public park.

There is some trash on the property, including a pile of asbestos-containing building material. Some areas of the property pose minor physical hazards from the terrain. Before the property is redeveloped as a park, the asbestos-containing material and other trash should be removed and properly disposed of and the property landscaped to reduce access to the more hazardous terrain.


The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has asked the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) to evaluate the health risks associated with the Keit Property as part of a Brownfields Pilot Project.

The Keit Property is an approximately 18 acre largely wetland area located in southwest Bay City, Michigan (Figure 1). Access to the property is obtained at a location whose address would be approximately 1605 S. Euclid Avenue. It is located in a mixed residential and commercial district, with Euclid Avenue and residences on the west, more residences on the north and east, a church among the residences on the east, and a commercial greenhouse operation on the south (1). One vacant parcel, between the property and Euclid Avenue, is under redevelopment for an automobile dealership.

The property has been used since 1886 for agriculture, including celery production. There is no record of any construction on the property. Aerial photos from 1930 to 1950 show a small creek or irrigation canal running across the property from southeast to northeast. Remnants of this creek/canal form the wetlands that dominate the property today. Low areas of the property have been extensively filled in, reportedly using fill materials generated during a major sewer project in the 1980s. The exact origin of the fill material has not been identified (2). The City of Bay City wants to use the property as a public park.

In April and May 1997, a contractor for the Bay City government conducted a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) of the property. This Assessment included a site inspection, review of file documents, and interviews with the property owners and other individuals, but no sampling of environmental material from the property (2). In October 1997, the MDEQ conducted fieldwork for a Brownfield Redevelopment Assessment of the property (1). On October 15, 1997, MDCH staff visited the property while MDEQ staff were carrying out their fieldwork.

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