Officials say sanitary systems in Flat Rock cleared of gasoline after leak triggers evacuations

Officials say it’ll be weeks until evacuated families can return home.

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FLAT ROCK, Mich. – Officials said screenings of sanitary sewers in Flat Rock show that gasoline has been cleared.

According to an update Wednesday from Wayne County, “extensive jetting and flushing of the sanitary sewers has occurred in residential areas affected by the gasoline leak.”

“Although sewers typically have fluctuations in small amounts of gasses due to permitted discharges, monitoring and screening of the sanitary sewers have shown the gasoline has been cleared and the sewer system is considered back to normal operating conditions,” read the update.

Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said as of Wednesday, indoor air sampling has been performed at 22 homes using the Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer mobile laboratory. The EPA also conducted air sampling in a total of 78 sanitary sewer locations.

The agency has taken more than 4,827 measurements of air quality since the beginning of response.

Several families have been displaced after benzene was detected in the sanitary system. Ford, which takes responsibility for the leak at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant, will send certified checks for $500 each to every household in zones 1 and 2 to cover costs. Residents can continue get help with hotels by calling 734-782-2455, option 6.

About 1,100 homes remain under observation. Flat Rock Mayor Mark Hammond said it’ll be weeks until those evacuated can return home.

Officials said the leak from the assembly plant was first detected on Aug. 30 but appeared to have started Aug. 26.

Ford believes the 1,400 gallons of gasoline leaked.

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DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.