Warren chemical spill test results: Safe for public, potential impact on wildlife

( Macomb County Public Works Commissioner)

The test results of a chemical spill in Bear Creek show the water is not harmful to the public, but it has potentially impacted aquatic life, according to the Macomb County Public Works Commissioner.

Warren residents' drinking water was also never affected, despite the "green-blue substance" – which was first reported on Feb 7 by a construction contractor near 11 Mile and Mound Road, according to a news release from the public works office.

"Our inspectors have been out every day, and we have observed the water has been running clean since last Friday," said Commissioner Candice Miller. "There may have been an initial issue for the aquatic life in the drain."

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigated and tested the spill on Thursday, Feb. 8.

"Investigators traced the spill upstream to an unoccupied industrial building near Mound, south of 10 Mile Road, that formerly housed a metal treating operation, Fini Finish Custom Plating," according to the release. "It’s believed that a water line inside the facility burst on or before Feb. 7, causing 580,000 gallons of water to flood the shop and wash electroplating chemicals that were on the floor into the storm sewer."

The sewer that the chemicals washed into leads to an outfall at the Bear Creek drain. It is unknown how many gallons of the chemicals got into Bear Creek. 

Samples were gathered from the plating material at the shop, the wastewater within the storm sewer, and Bear Creek to check for hazardous substances. The storm sewers on Mound Road were jetted and vacuumed.

"The water was still green at Chicago Road, east of Van Dyke, last Friday morning, but the discoloration was gone by noon. It’s believed the spill probably reached the Red Run Drain," according to the public works department. "Cleanup of the drain by EPA continued through Friday, Feb. 9 and was completed by the end of the day."

Those who spot a sheen, discoloration, or think chemicals are being dumped in the Clinton River or any waterways in Macomb County, can call the Macomb County Public Works Office hotline at 1-877-679-4337, available 24/7.


Officials still don't know what was in Bear Creek spill; Warren drinking water declared safe

"I don’t think there is any question that there will be a cleanup of that site but I don’t believe there is a public health risk," Miller said.