Plenty of contaminants found at Detroit-area industrial site

Plenty of contaminants found at Detroit-area industrial site
January 2, 2020 The Associated Press

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — High levels of multiple contaminants have been found in soil and groundwater at an old industrial site in suburban Detroit, state regulators said, after an inspection that was triggered by the discovery of a yellow-green substance along a major interstate.

There is no risk to drinking water intakes on Lake St. Clair, the Michigan Department of Environment said Friday.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency soon “will begin dozens of soil borings as part of an initial site characterization to help determine the extent and levels of contamination” at the former Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights, the state said.

On Dec. 20, drivers on Interstate 696 saw a brightly colored goo seeping through a concrete barrier along the eastbound shoulder.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller called the site a disaster.

“While this site is not in Macomb County, this site clearly demands an immediate response from all appropriate authorities until it is no longer a danger to our community and to our magnificent Great Lakes,” Miller said.

The state said Electro-Plating was issued a cease-and-desist order in December 2016 due to mismanagement of hazardous waste.

The EPA conducted a cleanup in 2017, removing hazardous chemicals and pumping contaminated liquid from an earthen pit, but it “was not intended to address all environmental impacts,” the state said.

The owner, Gary Sayers, 77, recently was ordered to pay $1.5 million for the EPA’s costs. He also was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for illegally storing hazardous waste. The government said he didn’t have a permit.

It was the latest legal action against Electro-Plating. The company had been under scrutiny by regulators for more than 20 years.

Featured image: This photo provided by Michigan Department of Transportation toxic chemical substances leaked along Interstate 696 in Madison Heights, Mich., on Dec. 20, 2019. (Michigan Department of Transportation via AP)


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