Chemical oozing onto 696 poses no threat to water, officials say

According to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), the ooze found on 696 in Madison Heights is not a threat to drinking water in the area.

The chemical, identified as Hexavelent Chromium on Saturday, was deemed on Sunday to not be a threat to drinking water or air quality.

According to EGLE, the samples taken from the site have been identified as Hexavelent Chromium, a chemical used in manufacturing and is a known carcinogen. 

EGLE says after testing done this weekend, it is not hazardous to water or the air.

The ooze was found Friday afternoon on 696 in Madison Heights. Any material that enters storm drains along I-696 eventually travels to Lake St. Clair, leading to the cause for concern.

Michigan State police said that the source is a metal plating business on East 10 Mile Road, which had been leaking the chemical Hexavelent Chromium.  

The chemical ran from the basement of the building, down into the ground and found its way through a drain which empties onto eastbound I-696.

"Affected catch basins have been cleaned and continue to be monitored. A basement sump is being used (to) collect and remove water from the basement into a portable tank. This reduces the water migrating off-site. This temporary system will continue under EPA/EGLE oversight until a long term solution is in place," said EGLE spokesperson Jill Greenberg.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicated that once the chemical came up through the drain, it froze into a yellow blob. The plan to dispose of the chemical is to bring in a type of excavator, scoop up the frozen waste, and place it into a safe container.

They stated that this may take all weekend and that the right lane of I-696 is closed indefinitely.  

Over $1 million has been spent on a cleanup at the site in the past.