Lawmakers, officials demand answers about contamination at condemned Madison Heights business

Green substance found on I-696

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – Lawmakers and officials demanded answers as to why a Madison Heights businessman was able to operate for so long with a list of violations against him.

Gary Sayers is in prison after storing hazardous waster improperly at Electro-Plating Services on 10 Mile Road in Madison Heights.

The site was cleaned up in 2016, but it became the center of a county-wide contamination investigation now, after a green substance was found on I-696, near Couzens Road. The substance, identified as hexavalent chromium, was coming from the basement of the condemned Electro-Plating Services.

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

Lawmakers and local officials expressed concerns during a hearing in Lansing on Wednesday.

“He (Sayers) was the second of only three businesses that had been closed down in the state. That’s ridiculous, said Roslyn Grafstein, the Mayor Pro Tem of Madison Heights.

Sayers’ Madison Heights business was closed after mounting violations.

Liesl Eichler Clark, the Department of of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy director, said officials are looking at how to respond to issues more quickly.

“We have a huge effort around processes to understand how do we move more quickly," Clark said.

Crews have also been investigating property Sayers owns in Deckerville for possible hazardous materials. Officials visited the property in 2017. Reports indicated no hazardous waste at that time.

“What I have a problem with is none of the local municipalities were notified back in 2017 when EGLE came in," said Todd Hillman, the Sanilac County Emergency Manager. “Now, there are supposedly some tubes back there. I live right down the road. I remember seeing the semis haul those tubes onto that property.”

In the meantime, a trial continues against Sayers, as Madison Heights sues him to get the Electro-Plating Services building town down.

Tim Gardner, the Madison Heights building official, described the mess found inside the business while in court. He said there was industrial debris was stacked up “haphazardly” in the building, there was a mold-like substance on the ceiling and the roof was rotting away.

Officials need to figure out how the building can be safely demolished.

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