Residents along Lake Michigan blame rising debris on bluff collapse

Residents along Lake Michigan blame rising debris on bluff collapse

By Tom Murray and The WTMJ News Team. CREATED Nov 6, 2011

OAK CREEK - In the days since the landslide at the Oak Creek We Energies facility, people who live along Lake Michigan say they've seen debris and chemicals washing up on the lake shore.

Renee Michna and Andrew Weber spoke to TODAY's TMJ4, saying they've collected water samples.

"It looks like fly ash to me," Weber says. "I sure would like to get it tested. It worries me greatly. This is where you me, every other man, woman and child and southeastern Wisconsin is getting they're drinking water from."

Residents on the lakeshore took pictures of debris they've collected, including gas containers, construction gear and more dead fish than they're used to seeing.

"It's an environmental disaster," Michna says.

They also took video of a chemical sheen on the water's surface.

A bluff at the Oak Creek power plant gave way last week, sending construction trailers, trucks and equipment tumbling into the lake. We Energies insists they're taking the clean-up seriously.

"We're retrieving those things that impact the environment," We Energies Spokesman Barry McNulty says. "But, what's most important is for us is to develop an area that prevents any additional materials from going into the lake."

But, Renee Michna believes that effort should be more urgent.

"We Energies solution to pollution is dilution," Michna says.

These residents say they've been calling We Energies and government agencies. So far, they've not been satsfied with the response.