The Bay Harbor conundrum?
It all comes down to mercury
By Anne Stanton 9/28/09
Some day, an ambitious reporter will write a story about Bay Harbor, a luxurious resort and golf course that emerged from the detritus of an old cement plant.
The book would no doubt touch on the backdoor intertwining of politics and money, but this weeks chapter in Express will focus on how key players are trying to find a way to locally dispose of water contaminated by the mountains of buried cement kiln dust.
Each day, CMS Energy, an early partner in the resort, collects 200,000 gallons of leachate at Bay Harbor Resort and nearby East Park. (Still under study is exactly how much of the contaminated water still runs into Little Traverse Bay).
The company is now looking in earnest to find a way to get rid of the leachate in Petoskey, rather than trucking it to Traverse City and Johannesburg, a tiny town near Gaylord.
But first, a recap of recent progress. The beach at East Park reopened this summer in a ceremony that drew both protesters and celebrants of the nearly $10 million clean-up effort. In July, there were no pH readings above the level of nine along the entire shoreline. In August, there was just one reading that exceeded the 9.0 level, and that was in an isolated area west of the golf course, said CMS Energy spokesman Tim Petroskey. (When the pH is above 9.0, fish have trouble getting oxygen from water.)