Yellow substance seeping onto I-696 identified as chemical Hexavelent Chromium

The strange ooze that was seeping through the freeway wall on the shoulder has been contained and 696 at Couzens is back open but a portion of the service drive is closed. 

The greenish-yellow substance was tested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has been identified to be Hexavelent Chromium. A chemical used in manufacturing and is a known carcinogen. 

Hazmat crews claim there is no imminent threat to the public. But what has officials on alert is that any material that enters storm drains along I-696 eventually travels to Lake St. Clair. 

Although the chemical substance is in Oakland County, due to the storm drain running to Lake St. Clair - Macomb County Public Works is assisting the situation.

Michigan State police said that the source is a commercial building located on E 10 Mile Road, which had been leaking the chemical Hexavelent Chromium.  

The chemical ran from the basement of the building, down into the ground and found its way thru a drain which empties onto east bound I-696.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicated that once the chemical came up thru the drain, it froze into a yellow blob. The plan to dispose of the chemical is to bring in a type of excavator, scoop up the frozen waste, and place it into a safe container.

They stated that this may take all weekend and that the right lane of I-696 may be closed until at least Monday.  Please use caution as there will be workers in the area. 

"Pollution knows no county or city boundaries. Our first duty is to protect our local water and we stand ready to assist our federal and state partners to contain this material. The federal EPA and state EGLE, as well as the Madison Heights Fire Department, are on site and my staff is in close communication with them to ensure that this material is captured before it can migrate to the lake," said Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller.

"Our number one priority is protecting and preserving the water quality in our magnificent Great Lakes," Miller said.

Macomb County Public Works operates a 24-hour hotline that citizens may use to report pollution in local drains or waterways: 877-679-4337.