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First phase of cleanup at former steel mill site complete. Now what?

First phase of cleanup at former steel mill site complete. Now what?
November 26, 2021 Michigan Radio

By Lester Graham, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water. This independent journalism is supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Find all the work HERE.


The EPA has signed off on a cleanup of the site of a former steel mill along the Detroit River in Trenton.

The cleanup was on nearly 200 acres of the former McLouth Steel plant which went bankrupt in 1995.

Over the years, several contaminated areas have been found on the site. Federal and state environmental officials discovered thousands of gallons of PCB oil and many other pollutants stored on the grounds. The cleanup also included demolishing 45 buildings.

The $20 million cleanup was paid for by a company owned by the Maroun family. The Marouns bought the property after it went into tax foreclosure.

One idea has been to turn the site into a shipping port.

Many residents in Trenton want the waterfront property developed in a way to make the riverfront attractive. They don’t want it to remain an industrial site.

In one small victory for them, the property was rezoned from waterfront industrial district to waterfront revitalization.

If the property is used for something other than industrial activity, further cleanup would be required.

The McLouth Waterfront Alliance is advocating for mixed-use development and full environmental cleanup on the land.


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Featured image: Overhead view of the McLouth Steel plant in 1960. Courtesy: City Of Trenton

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