Demolition of building behind ‘green ooze’ spill in Madison Heights underway

Building where chemical waste improperly stored finally sees end after years of legal battles

The demolition of the behind behind the toxic "green ooze" that made its way through the soil and out onto I-696 has begun.

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – After years of legal battles, a condemned Madison Heights building deemed responsible for a toxic chemical spill is getting demolished.

Funding has been secured since 2020 for the demolition of the Electro Plating Services building, located on 10 Mile Road near Couzens Avenue. The building was tied to “green ooze” found leaking onto I-696 in 2019. That green substance was identified as hexavalent chromium -- a chemical compound often found in industrial environments that is considered carcinogenic and dangerous to human health.

Officials said chemicals were being improperly stored in the basement of the Madison Heights building, and then seeped through the soil and leaked out onto the freeway. Building owner Gary Sayers pleaded guilty to storing chemical waste in the basement of the building without a permit to do so, and served some prison time for it.

From 2020: Photos, records show Madison Heights building at center of toxic ooze case has been unsafe for years

Alongside Michigan environmental authorities, the Environmental Protection Agency led testing and clearing of the toxic site, and say the drinking water was not impacted by the leak.

Discolored water along I-696 near green ooze site in Madison Heights not cause for concern, state says

For years, Sayers had fought to prevent the demolition of the Electro Plating Services building, but his efforts were unsuccessful. The demolition of the building was underway on May 31, nearly two years since funding for the demolition was secured. You can see footage from the site in the video player above.

Demolition was expected to begin in April. Officials said crews first needed to go through the building to clear out any potentially dangerous items before demolition could begin.

The entire process is expected to take some time to complete, potentially months.

Sayers does still own the property on which the building rests, and says he hopes to develop a marijuana dispensary on the site following the demolition. Madison Heights officials say that his site has not been cleared for such a development, and if it ever is, Sayers will have to apply to the city just like any other person would.

Sayers is reportedly no longer allowed inside of the Madison Heights building.


About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.