Factory owner responsible for toxic green ooze to be released early from prison due to coronavirus pandemic

Green liquid oozing from retaining wall along I-696. - Michigan Department of Transportation
Michigan Department of Transportation
Green liquid oozing from retaining wall along I-696.

The owner of a contaminated factory that sent a hazardous, bright green ooze onto I-696 in Madison Heights will be released early from federal prison because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gayer Alfred Sayers, owner of Electro-Plating Services, was supposed to be jailed until Nov. 9, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

Instead, the 70-year-old will be released from FCI Morgantown, a minimum security detention center in West Virginia, on May 20 to serve house arrest, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit.

In March, Attorney General William Barr ordered prisons to “immediately maximize” the release of inmates to home confident to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

In November, Sayers was sentenced to a year in prison on a charge of illegally storing hazardous materials at Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights.

Some of the hazardous materials were stored in a dirt hole in the basement, where the chemicals seeped into the ground and eventually found a path onto the freeway. The green slime was groundwater contaminated with cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, which was made famous by Erin Brockovich.

The EPA spent about $2 million and nearly a year to clean up the waste, but officials now acknowledge they underestimated how much toxic waste ended up in the ground. The EPA continues to clean up the property.

The City of Madison Heights has filed a lawsuit against Gary Sayers in an attempt to require him to pay for the demolition of the building to make the clean-up more effective.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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