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Eastbound I-696 ramp to Couzens in Madison Heights closed until late spring

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

The eastbound Interstate 696 ramp onto Couzens in Madison Heights will be closed starting 9 a.m. Monday, the Michigan Department of Transportation said.

It will remain closed until late spring so that the department can finish the cleanup of hazardous material in the area.

In December 2019, yellow-green liquid containing toxic chemicals oozed onto the bank of I-696 from the basement of the former Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights. 

The work now will remove a concrete barrier that is separating the ramp from the area of the spill, as well as an interceptor trench sump that's been in place for over a year.

MDOT - Mi Drive Map

Repairs will be done on the eastbound I-696 service drive from John R. to Couzens, which has been closed since 2019. The slope on the embankment along the ramp will also be restored. 

The service drive is expected to be reopened along with the ramp in late spring.

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

Electro-Plating Services was issued a cease-and-desist order in December 2016 after inspectors discovered an estimated 5,000 corroded drums, vats and other containers of hazardous waste at the site, according to the EPA.

 A $1.5 million cleanup effort began in June 2017. Crews removed chemicals from the property but did not clean up soil or groundwater contamination. 

In January, the EPA said said weekly monitoring for hazardous chemicals at the Madison Height site in recent months showed "no imminent threat to humans or the environment." The Environmental Protection Agency said it spent $3.1 million on groundwater cleanup and has turned the site over to the state "for long-term remediation."

Gary Sayers of Bloomfield Hills, the owner of the Electro-Plating Services buildings, was sentenced to a year in federal prison last year after pleading guilty to illegal handling of hazardous waste at the defunct site and two other buildings. Sayers was given early release in April and assigned to home confinement.