Source of toxic ooze on I-696 was supposed to be cleaned up. Instead, it seeped into the ground

Dec 26, 2019 at 12:29 pm
Pit in the basement at the factory responsible for toxic ooze on I-696. - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Pit in the basement at the factory responsible for toxic ooze on I-696.

The toxic, bright green liquid discovered oozing onto I-696 in Madison Heights came from a shuttered factory that environmental officials spent about $2 million and nearly a year to clean up.

So how did the green slime, which was groundwater contaminated with cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, end up on a freeway?

State and federal regulators are investigating.

Here’s what we know: Environmental regulators forced Electro-Plating Services to close in 2016 after inspectors discovered hundreds of containers of hazardous waste at the site. The owner, Gary Sayers, was sentenced to one year in federal prison on a charge of illegally storing the waste.

Environmental Protection Agency records indicate that much of the hazardous waste was dumped into an overflowing dirt pit. Clean-up crews emptied the pit and filled it with gravel, concluding that the site posed no immediate harm.

But now it appears chemicals seeped into the ground beneath the defunct factory before it found a path onto the freeway.

State and federal environmental officials continue to insist there's no risk to the public's health. More test results are expected Friday.

Photos showing contamination at the factory responsible for the toxic ooze are available here.

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