As methane testing begins, Auburn Hills residents concerned

A graphic used during a presentation on methane testing in Auburn Hills.
A graphic used during a presentation on methane testing in Auburn Hills.
An old landfill near the Palace of Auburn Hills has residents concerned is about an invisible, odorless gas that is very explosive. 

Tests will soon be done to see if their concern is warranted, while 30 people came to a special meeting at the public safety building in Auburn Hills.

Those who attended came with questions about methane and left with gas alarms. 

"The detector is great," said Auburn Hills resident Manuel Ferraiuolo. "Until I get the findings, I don't know yet."

"Natural gas that comes into your house from a utility has an odor of rotten egg," said Greg Barrow of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "The natural gas from a landfill does not. It is odorless - it comes into your house and you wouldn't know it."

The site in question used to be a Kensington church and a landfill that closed in the 1970s at the corner of Bald Mountain and Dutton Road.

As organic material breaks down it creates methane gas. And during an independent study last year they found levels of methane that is potentially dangerous in this exact spot.

The Department of Environmental Quality isn't convinced the original testing is done right. So the city is commissioning its own test. Fourteen wells are going in, two of which will be residential properties.

Once these wells are in place, the results will come in real time. The first thing they want to learn is the scope of the potential danger and just how people may be affected. 

The next step, crews will come out with drills and take them 20 feet deep to install wells.

The end result - three feet of PVC sticking out of the ground. Not exactly the look many homeowners were hoping for. 


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