Ford resumes production at Flat Rock plant following gas leak

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Flat Rock — Ford Motor Co. resumed production Monday at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant following a gasoline leak there into the city's sewer system last month that prompted some 1,200 evacuations, a state of emergency declaration and a two-week plant shutdown.

Last week, the Dearborn automaker said it would send $500 checks to every household affected by the leak, which on Aug. 30 prompted reports of a mysterious odor and vapors in the city. A multi-day investigation into the source eventually led to the Ford plant where Mustangs are built.

Bob Holycross, Ford Motor Company's Vice President, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, in front of a 2021 Shelby GT500 Coupe, updates the latest from the gas leak in late August, during a press conference at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Michigan on September 14, 2021.

The automaker also said last week that it appears the leak of some 1,400 gallons of gasoline started no earlier than Aug. 26.

Ford says regular air quality monitoring over the past few weeks has confirmed that the plant is safe for employees and others to be on site.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy said dye testing in Ford’s sewer had pinpointed a compromised manhole structure on Ford’s property where it is believed gasoline was able to enter the sewer system. 

The leak has been stopped and government officials said last week that gasoline no longer was showing up in local sewers, even as testing continued and many residents were not yet advised to return to their homes.

Meanwhile, Ford said last week that it is decommissioning all underground gasoline piping and replacing it with above-ground piping before restarting any fuel-filling operations at the plant.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski

Staff Writer Hani Barghouthi contributed.