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No contaminants in Hazel Park storm drains from ooze that ran on I-696

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Hazel Park — City officials said Thursday that tests show there are no detectable traces of a hazardous chemical in storm drains after a yellow-green liquid oozed onto an interstate two weeks ago.

"The City of Hazel Park has received results from tests conducted on Dec. 26, 2019 at storm drains near the hazardous materials situation at 945 E. 10 Mile in Madison Heights," officials said in a post on the city's Facebook page. "The results showed NO detectable traces of hexavalent chromium in storm drains on the Hazel Park side on 10 Mile.

Four members of Michigan's congressional delegation have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for more help cleaning up green ooze

"Unfortunately, testing did reveal positive results for the contaminant in storm drains north of the building along I-696 in Madison Heights. More tests, including soil borings, are planned by state and federal officials. As we receive test results, we will share them."

On Monday, the mayor of Warren delivered similar news to that city's residents. Warren, which is located in Macomb County, shares a border with Hazel Park.

"Our inspectors checked out all of our drains in the city that could possibly be contaminated with green goo on 696 and the result is NO contamination," Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said in a statement. "They checked all drains in Warren connected to 696 and found no contamination."

The liquid appeared Dec. 20 on eastbound I-696 just west of Couzens in Madison Heights.

More: Crews cleaning up yellow-green chemical that ran onto I-696

State officials identified the liquid as water contaminated with hexavalent chromium, a cancer-causing chemical normally used in textile dyes, wood preservation and inks. They also determined the ooze was coming from the basement of a nearby business called Electro-Plating Services.

The company's building is located on the 950 block of East 10 Mile. Electro-Plating Services was shut down amid a 2017 Superfund environmental cleanup. Its owner, Gary A. Sayers, pleaded guilty in federal court to illegal handling of hazardous waste and is set to surrender next month to begin serving a one-year prison term.

The chemical entered a storm sewer on I-696 and a sewer cleanout between the business and the freeway service drive.

State officials said preliminary test results of soil and water near the building show high levels of multiple contaminants, but no risk to drinking water intakes in Lake St. Clair.

Still, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday her administration is considering legal action that would include criminal charges against Electro-Plating over the chemical leak.

On Tuesday, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller blasted state officials for failing to ensure Electro-Plating's building was "properly cleaned up." Part of Macomb County is located on Lake St. Clair's shore.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez