Chemically contaminated soil and groundwater on property in Hartland Township will be the focus of cleanup efforts set to begin next week.

The five acre parcel at Lone Tree and Pleasant Valley Road is the former site of a Merit Energy gas processing plant. The plant was decommissioned in 2015 and it was then that contractors discovered a chemical called sulfolane had leached into the soil and underlying groundwater. Community members were first notified of the spill in May of 2016.

Merit took action by sampling residential wells and installing monitoring wells to determine the extent of the contamination. It wasn’t until this past July that officials confirmed the contaminated soil and groundwater was confined to the site. Merit was required by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to develop a site remediation plan, which received approval in September. Hartland Township Trustee Matt Germane says the company plans to begin bioremediation next week.

Germane the in-depth investigation into the extent of the contamination is the reason it’s taken over two years to begin cleanup since the chemical's discovery. Germane says information from a pilot study indicated the company’s bioremediation method will churn out results in 12 to 15 months. Merit is required to report to the MDEQ on a quarterly basis at a minimum. (DK)