Cleanup continues after hazardous waste oozes onto freeway from condemned business

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Environmental crews continued cleanup work around a suburban Detroit freeway and in a shuttered industrial firm, after a yellow-green liquid chemical was found seeping onto the roadway’s shoulder Friday.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy said workers finished vacuuming sewers and were working inside Madison Heights-based Electro-Plating Services. The chemical oozed out of the building’s basement, entered a storm sewer on Interstate 696 and a sewer clean-out between the business and the freeway’s service drive.

Environmental officials said the liquid was identified as water contaminated with a chemical typically used in textile dyes, wood preservation and inks. It posed no imminent risk to the public, they said.

Department officials said in an email Saturday afternoon that the freeway embankment is “significantly impacted.”

Samples were taken for testing and those results were expected by Tuesday. Officials from EGLE, as well as other local, state and federal agencies, were scheduled to meet Sunday in Detroit.

State officials saidElectro-Plating Services was issued a cease-and-desist order in December 2016 due to hazardous waste mismanagement. Crews removed chemicals from the property but did not clean up soil or groundwater contamination.

Last month, the company was ordered to pay $1.5 million and its owner received one year in prison for illegally storing hazardous waste.

Federal officials said owner Gary Sayers “stonewalled” efforts and warnings for years to properly deal with the wastes. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program spent what the company was fined to clean up and dispose of the wastes.

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