Workers continue demolition of former GM plant

August 29, 2014

Though General Motors still has a significant presence in Michigan, over the years it has opted to close down plants and move their operations to other states and even overseas. One of the most recent examples has been the Willow Run Powertrain plant in Ypsilanti Township.

Last year, the plant was scheduled for demolition, once its remaining machinery was transported to new operations in foreign countries. The process has been slow and still continues, but a recent article on Michigan Live reports that work crews finally expect to finish by October 1.

The next step, of course, is to figure out what to do next.

The Willow Run Powertrain plant was a 5-million-square foot facility, and it has had a significant impact on the surrounding area, including the environment. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality estimates that there are at least 40 acres worth of sites where oil and other chemicals have been spilled seeped into groundwater. All told, there may be as many as 4.1 million gallons of industrial chemicals that will need to be cleaned up.

Some of this contamination is locked away for the time being, due to the massive concrete slab left in place for now. However, since officials hope to eventually repurpose the area for sale to a new user, this must be cleaned up.

According to the news source, the Revitalization Automotive Communities Environmental Response (RACER) Trust has been awarded $35.8 million in federal funding to complete this project. By working with environmental consultants, project stakeholders can breathe new life into an old, contaminated site.