Madison Heights residents can seek answers about toxic ooze at forum tonight

February 03, 2020, 7:07 AM by  Alan Stamm

Blue dots show groundwater contamination at and near Electro-Plating Services (red box) on East 10 Mile Road, next to an I-696 service drive and Couzens Avenue exit. (Graphic: EPA)

This was posted Jan. 28 originally.

A two-hour community meeting Monday night is aimed at easing concern about an Oakland suburb's scary site.

Anger and frustration could surface as state and federal officials tell Madison Heights residents what they've found around Electro-Plating Services and how industrial toxins are being removed. They're likely to be asked why more wasn't done earlier at the notorious polluter, shut by state regulators in 2016 after repeated environmental violations.

The scene of the slime. (Photo: EPA)

Residents' patience will be tested by disclosure that a long-term solution addressing site contaminants "will likely take six to eight weeks to develop," according to the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).

The meeting at Madison High School from 6-8 p.m. Monday is billed as a "public briefing on the ... emergency response" after bright green gunk oozed onto I-696 on Dec. 20. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. at the school, 915 E. 11 Mile Rd. -- slightly more than a mile north of the metal-plating plant on East 10 Mile Road.

Information about drinking water, groundwater, storm runoff and soil tests will be presented by representatives of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, EGLE and the state Department of Health and Human Services.

EPA contractors draw water samples from storm sewer catch basins along the I-696 service drive. (Photo: EGLE)

Preliminary tests show that contaminants at the site and flowing north toward the freeway include hexavalent chromium, cyanide, trichloroethylene and other metals, EGLE says. "Test results from Madison Heights municipal water released [Jan. 24] show no contaminants exceeding drinking water standards," the agency adds in its latest statement."

Wastes also aren't migrating to residential areas south of the former factory, according to the state agency, which gives these additional updates:

  • EPA contractors last week sampled indoor air at a building that's part of the Electro-Plating complex, including sampling below the building’s 12-inch concrete  floor.

  • Federal contractors also are hand-digging to investigate potential paths of contaminant migration along underground utility corridors.

  • Sump pumps and vacuum trucks have pulled up more than 47,800 gallons of contaminated groundwater for transport to a hazardous waste disposal facility.

  • The City of Madison Heights sent a camera through affected sewer lines to help spot where contaminated groundwater might enter.

A state contractor's trailer-like container alongside I-696 holds recovered contaminats. (Photo: EGLE)

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