City leaders and residents share fear, outrage at chemical ooze leak on I-696

There was only one thing on Monday night's agenda for a special council meeting in Madison Heights.

The public got to voice concern about the toxic chemicals seen leaching onto I-696. But when it was the council's turn to respond, things got a little emotional. 

"A lot of us have children in this city, we all live here just like you do -  I don't know what happened," said Mayor Pro Tem Roslyn Grafstein.

"Flint should have been the last straw," said Kymm Clark, council member. "We are going to make sure that Madison Heights is the last straw."

The city councilmembers spoke for themselves at the special meeting - but not on behalf of the city. 

"We are keeping the pressure on the EPA and state to do everything required to keep us all safe," said Chief Corey Haines, acting city manager.

Echoing the passion, and questions offered up by the public. 

"How did this go un-looked at, somebody dropped the ball and I guess it is going to be you guys all holding it," said one resident.

"We know that the chemical causes cancer. that has been proven. I'm concerned. What other illnesses and chronic illness diseases does this cause?" said another resident.

Wayne Reif lives less than a half mile north of the contaminated business. 

"They have been cleaning that building up for two years," Reif said. "Why are we still having issues with it."

Gary Sayers owned and operated Electro Plating Services, where the hexavalent chromium was found illegally stored. 
Back in February, he pleaded guilty in federal court for storing the toxic waste. He was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay $1.4 million for clean-up.
The Department of Justice says he may have been storing it on site since the late 90s. 

"How in the world did this have gone on so long," said another resident.

"We have open litigation right now with this company," said Mark Bliss, councilmember. "There are some things we cannot say."

The state's environmental agency known as EGLE, has previously said with the low concentration of chemicals reaching the water supply, there is no immediate danger to the public. 
It is a hard sell for some. 

"It's poisoning our ground," said another resident. "People are saying our water is safe. I don't believe it's safe."

And on Monday Governor Gretchen Whitmer asked lawmakers to toughen pollution inspection and enforcement procedures. 

There were also some concerns raised about access to the contaminated business. The police chief says he will work to ensure the site is kept off limits and secure.