Test results confirm substance found seeping onto I-696 is hexavalent chromium

Officials say there is no threat to drinking water

A substance seeps onto I-696 in Madison Heights on Dec. 20, 2019. (WDIV)
A substance seeps onto I-696 in Madison Heights on Dec. 20, 2019. (WDIV)

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – Test results confirm a green substance found seeping onto I-696 in Madison Heights last week is hexavalent chromium.

The substance was discovered on the eastbound side of the roadway, near the Couzens Road exit, on Dec. 20.

MORE: Everything we know about the green substance on I-696

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy said there is no threat to drinking water, but that there are high levels of multiple contaminants in the soil and groundwater near the now-condemned Electro-Plating Services.

Chromium, trichloroethylene (TCE) and cyanide were all discovered near the building.

Hexavalent chromium was found at at 0.14 milligrams per liter. The standard for drinking water is 0.10 milligrams per liter.

The storm sewer eventually enters Lake St. Clair miles away, EGLE said. By the time the substance would get to the lake, “concentrations would be well below detectable levels although still a significant concern for incremental accumulation in the ecosystem,” EGLE said.

Full testing data will be available next week.

Read more: Substance made famous by Erin Brockovich is what was seeping onto I-696

Officials said the substance is coming from the basement of Electro-Plating Services on 10 Mile Road, which was the site of a massive cleanup in 2016 due to improperly stored hazardous waste.

According to EGLE, the “release likely contributed contaminants to the storm sewer system before it was discovered.”

The cleanup could take months, officials said.

Cleanup efforts underway include:

  • Daily vacuuming of nearby catch basins.
  • Maintenance and inspection of sump pumps collecting contaminated water from both inside the facility and on the highway embankment.
  • Daily monitoring of air in the building using hand-held monitors.
  • Preparing for the impact of rain and freezing weather.