Contamination near Madison Heights business follows decades of violations

Site not properly cleaned

Hank Winchester is demanding answers from the state in the I-696 contamination investigation.
Hank Winchester is demanding answers from the state in the I-696 contamination investigation.

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – Officials knew about violations at a business in Madison Heights for decades, yet the site was never properly cleaned.

Hexavalent chromium is coming from the basement of the now-condemned Electro-Plating Services on 10 Mile Road.

MORE: Discovery of green substance on I-696 leads to multi-county contamination investigation

The business was the site of a massive cleanup in 2016 due to improperly stored hazardous waste. However, the site didn’t qualify for the level of funding that could have prevented the mess that crews are now handling after a substance was discovered on I-696 late last year.

“This is an issue that has been ongoing for decades," said Jill Greenberg, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy spokesperson.

Violations at Electro-Plating Services dates back to the 1990s.

“As Gov. Whitmer suggested, we really need to look at enforcement, and she’s called for bipartisan approach to provide the funding we need to have consistent and assertive enforcement on environmental tragedies like this," Greenberg said.

Officials have said that the chemicals at the site pose no health threat, but residents concerned and said they haven’t heard from officials.

“We are working with our partners and we are planning upcoming townhall meetings,” Greenberg said. “We understand there is concern.”

State officials say they don’t believe the chemicals will affect residents but can’t say with certainty everything is OK until test results come back.

Soil and water test results could be in Friday or early next week.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.