Photos show pipes severely eroded by chemicals from condemned Madison Heights business

Concerns about water contamination remain

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – Pipes underneath a now-condemned Madison Heights building that was leaking toxic chemicals showed severe signs of decay, officials said Tuesday.

A green substance was found oozing onto I-696 near the Couzens Road exit on Dec. 20, 2019.

It was identified as hexavalent chromium. Officials said it was coming from Electro-Plating Services on 10 Mile Road.

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

Photos were shown during a court hearing as the city fights to get the building owner, Gary Sayers, to demolish it.

The sanitary sewer pipes are covered what appears to be green chemicals. The sides of the pipes are eroded, and in some areas, the pipe is completely gone.

Officials said the pipes lead to a treatment facility in Detroit before the water runs into the Detroit River.

Prosecutors are concerned because if the pipes are damaged by hazardous waste and chemicals, substances can seep into storm sewers and drains. When this happens, the substances can end up in several bodies of water, including Lake St. Clair.

“They all lead to the Red Run Drain, Clinton River and Lake St. Clair,” said Corey Almas, the director of public services in Madison Heights.

Almas said that if groundwater is contaminated and gets into the storm sewer system, it will be carried to the river and lake.

While test results from last week showed that drinking water is safe in Madison Heights, there have been many questions and concerns regarding health and the environment, as well as why the Sayers was able to operate the business for so long. Violations mounted against Electro-Plating Services for years, but it didn’t close until 2016.

Read more about the investigation and other environmental issues here.

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