Miller: Milky white substance in Sterling Heights storm drain water is concrete washout

Image 1 of 2

The milky white substance discovered in Sterling Heights storm drain water has been identified as concrete washout, according to Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller.

In a press conference Friday, she said that someone noticed milky white substance in the water while hiking east of Mound Road and south of 18 Mile Road and reported it to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. That area is referred to as Burr Relief Drain No. 2, which serves an industrial area in central Sterling Heights. It feeds into the Plumbrook Drain, a much larger waterway, which runs diagonally from the northwestern corner to the southeastern corner of Sterling Heights before discharging into the Red Run in Clinton Township. 

Miller said the substance is concrete washout from a concrete site or concrete business -- and there are several in the area. She said they are not sure which business is responsible or how long the concrete washout has been there, but the next steps include investigating and talking to property owners.

"Anybody that is doing something like this on purpose. just thinking, 'Well, I'm just washing it down the drain' -- well it stops," she said.

Crews are installing booms and a curtain to prevent the material from traveling farther downstream. The containment devices are being placed at the convergence of the Burr Relief #2 and the Plumbrook. 

Miller said they regularly send out informational flyers regarding environmental safety and just last year, sent out one entitled "How to Properly Handle Concrete Washout".

Either way, Miller said the business responsible should expect a bill for the environmental cleanup.

"I don't think the taxpayers need to be paying for this," she said.

Watch the press conference on Fox 2 News Now below: