Crews continue cleanup after green chemical substance oozes onto I-696

Substance coming from Madison Heights business

A bright green substance started flowing onto I-696 in Madison Heights on Dec. 20, 2019. (WDIV)
A bright green substance started flowing onto I-696 in Madison Heights on Dec. 20, 2019. (WDIV)

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – Crews are still working Saturday to clean up a green substance that is oozing onto I-696 in Madison Heights.

UPDATE: Green substance leaking onto I-696 in Madison Heights is hexavalent chromium

Sewers were vacuumed overnight, and crews are now cleaning the basement of Electro-Plating Services, a condemned business.

The owner of the business was recently sentenced after he pleaded guilty to storing hazardous waste without a permit.

The substance started flowing onto the freeway near Couzens Road on Friday.

The Michigan Dept. of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy believes the substance is contaminated groundwater that remained after a massive 2016 cleanup at the electroplating business.

According to Michigan State Police, hexavalent chromium was leaking from the basement of the business and made its way to the road.

Hexavalent chromium is often produced during industrial processes. The chemical is known to cause cancer and targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The Environmental Protection Agency is testing the substance, and the results are expected Saturday. It’s likely a mix of acids, heavy metals and other waste.

Tricia Edwards, with the EPA, said the cleanup is going to take time because there is a lot of clay in the area, and the substance is traveling onto the clay.

The right lane, right shoulder and exit to Couzens Road are closed while crews clean up the mess. MSP said the lane could be closed until Monday.

An excavator is going to be used scoop up the waste, which is frozen, and put it into a safe container, police said.

In the meantime, the Macomb County Public Works is monitoring the situation because anything that enters storm drains along I-696 ends up in Lake St. Clair.

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