Pollutant in Plumbrook Drain in Sterling Heights contained

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
Workers place absorbent blooms in the Plumbrook Drain in Sterling Heights to soak up an oily liquid found in the water.

Sterling Heights — An oily liquid spill in a Sterling Heights drain has been contained, Macomb County officials said.

It is believed the liquid, which caused a sheen on the water in the Plumbrook Drain, is hydraulic fluid, they said. 

A crew from the Macomb County Public Works Office is supervising the effort to clean up the pollutant.

Workers placed eight absorbent booms in the drain, south of where it crosses 19 Mile west of Ryan Road. The booms will be checked daily until all traces of the spill have been absorbed, which could take about week, according to officials.

The city notified the Macomb County Public Works Office on Thursday that the city's public works crew operating heavy machinery in an area near the drain may be the cause of the leak that entered the waterway. The crew was operating a flail mower to trim roadside vegetation, said Bridget Kozlowski, a city spokeswoman.

The drain is east of Van Dyke Road and spans public property between a residential neighborhood and a condominium complex. The area is heavily wooded with limited access from residential areas, Kozlowski said.

Officials suspect the heavy machinery malfunctioned, causing discharge of hydraulic fluid. The affected surface area was small and contained, based on reports from the scene, according to Kozlowski.

A sheen was discovered on the drain Thursday near where the drain crosses under 19 Mile Road, west of Ryan Road.

The spill was discovered by someone who was working in the area, officials said.  

 "Protecting our waterways is our No. 1 priority. It is critical that we respond quickly so we are able to prevent pollutants from making their way in to Lake St. Clair," Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller wrote in a Facebook post Thursday. "Having the public serve as our eyes and ears exponentially increases our ability to quickly respond to a problem."

The Macomb County Public Works Office has a 24-hour hotline to report pollution issues at (877) 679-4337.


Twitter: @SarahRahal_

Staff Writer Charles E. Ramirez contributed.