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Company asks South Lyon to ban some well drilling due to contaminated groundwater

A groundwater well head
Engdao / Adobe Stock

Company officials from Michigan Seamless Tube have requested that the city of South Lyon ban water wells on land adjacent to its plant. That's because a plume of contaminated groundwater is spreading from the MST plant. 

The company declined our interview request. But in a statement, the company says the groundwater on the Michigan Seamless Tube site is contaminated with the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) and its degradation by-products including vinyl chloride. The statement notes that the state has an action level of 5 parts per million for TCE in drinking water; the company says the highest concentration of TCE found in the groundwater on MST property was 8,700 ppm.

Paul Zelenak is the city manager of South Lyon. He says the contamination of the groundwater likely happened over the course of years.

“What transpired was hazardous waste was generated or treated or stored or disposed of on the MST property over the years, and because of which, it was found that there is some sort of contamination underneath the ground,” he says.

Zelenak says if MST assists with corrective action, it will do so through committed funds to the state to be used for testing and monitoring, not through the city itself.

“The primary purpose of Michigan Seamless Tube's request is that the city adopt a groundwater use restriction ordinance to protect public health and safety by restricting the use of groundwater on those properties which includes prohibiting groundwater wells,” Zelenak says.

He says six of the eight affected properties are owned by the city of South Lyon, and the city will not be drilling any wells on those properties.

According to Zelenak, the affected areas include:

  • City-owned properties included the DPW yard and sewer plants

  • A Lyon Township parcel

  • A piece of land due north along the western line of the Lovewell Park subdivision

Zelenak says the ordinance still needs to go before the city council for revisions and a vote.


Earlier this month, MST was fined by the state for workplace violations after an employee fell into a vat of sulfuric acid and died.

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