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‘We are concerned’ -- Sunday’s rain could impact chemical leak on I-696

Hexavalent chromium leaks onto freeway

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – The United States Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring the rain expected to arrive Sunday due to concerns relating to the green ooze on I-696.

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

The agency said extra personnel will be on hand and are taking extra measures to prevent the liquid from moving.

A barricade fenced off the site where the hexavalent chromium was found leaking onto the eastbound lanes of I-696.

“Our drinking water is safe," said Madison Heights mayor Roslyn Grafstein. "There’s no contaminants out there. Everything that I’ve heard about this chemical is if you touch it, that’s where the concern is.”

The heavy rain expected Sunday poses a potential threat to the site.

While the storm drains on the freeway lead to the Clinton River, which eventually dumps into Lake St. Clair, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy said levels of hexavalent chromium would be low by the time they reach the lake.

“Heavy rain could possibly impact the water levels at the site which is why it’s important that we have a sump pump operating at the site," said Jill Greenberg with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. "Which will be able to collect contaminated water from inside the facility.”

Crews will also be cleaning nearby catch basins daily and monitoring the air inside of the facility.

“We will have additional personnel on hand at the site," Greenberg said. "We’re preparing not only for rain but also for cold weather and snow.”

While officials believe the substance isn’t dangerous for humans, it does threaten the environment.

“We are concerned," Grafstein said. "We’re going to be on top of it. This is something that the state and federal agencies are working on.”

The state is waiting for data from more tests to determine the next steps.


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