Underground oil leak discovered in Southfield neighborhood

Residents are unhappy after oil from an abandoned well was discovered on the ground of a Southfield neighborhood.

"We can see the staining of the earth, as well as you can see the sheen oil floating," said Southfield Mayor Kevin Siver. "All of this is running to the rear of property into a culvert that goes into a drain to a creek that runs into the Tamarack drain in Southfield, which ends up in the Rouge River."

Siver said the oil is seeping from an old oil well, drilled in 1939 when nearly all of Southfield was woods and farm land. The area, Pembrooke Drive in the Lochmoor subdivision off 10 Mile Road, is now a modern neighborhood that's about 15 years old.

The oil well drilled in '39 did strike oil but was not profitable enough. It's now referred to as an orphan well because the company abandoned it in the 40s, and it is now the responsibility of the DEQ.

The DEQ capped the well in a fence a few days ago, but some neighbors who bought homes in the area aren't happy.

"We see evidence that a well from 50 years ago is actually still leaking and indeed damaging the environment," said Carmen Johnson.

DEQ responded that they discovered a brine seep, which is essentially salt water, coming to the surface. They say they'll keep monitoring and will work to address any issues that may develop. The City of Southfield is conducting its own soil testing.