EPA testing water at 696 chemical site as business owner reports to prison

The owner of the company that was leaking hazardous materials onto I-696 in Oakland County reported to prison over the weekend, for an unrelated environmental criminal case. 

Gary Sayers, 70, was reportedly sentenced in November to serve a year in prison after pleading guilty to illegally storing hazardous materials at Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights. Court records show he's serving time at a prison in West Virginia until November 2020. 

Weeks after he was sentenced, hazardous and cancerous materials began seeping from his company onto I-696 near Couzens and into its underground drainage system on Dec. 20, 2019. 

The substance leaked for several days and officials have since determined the substance was Chromium-6, a chemical used in manufacturing that is a known carcinogen.

On Friday, the federal Environmental Protection Agency reportedly collected roughly 11,000 gallons of water from the contamination industrial site. 

State officials have said the site posed no risk to drinking water and there was a low risk for the migration of contaminates off site. Officials say these latest test results will evaluate the contamination. 

Electro-Plating Services was shut down by regulators in 2016 due to mismanagement of industrial waste. Officials are working to determine how to safely remove other hazardous chemicals still inside the building.