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Officials say yellow-green chemical oozing onto I-696 poses no threat to drinking water, air quality

Posted at 3:43 PM, Dec 22, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-01 14:12:50-05

Officials say that the yellow-green substance spilling onto I-696 known as hexavalent chronium does not pose a threat to drinking water or air quality. Sample results from site where the chemical is located are expected to be released in the coming week.

Michigan State Police identified the substance Saturday as a possible cancer-causing chemical when it began pouring onto the freeway on eastbound I-696 at Couzens in Madison Heights.

According to Jill Greenberg, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, says officials presume that the groundwater was contaminated with the chronium chemical from historic plating operations.

The water the migrated underground and found its way down the expressway, Greenberg wrote in an email, while adding that "there is no threat to drinking water or air quality."

Officials say that affected catch basins in the facility where the chemical is suspected to have come from, have been cleaned and are being monitored.

"A basement sump is being used (to) collect and remove water from the basement into a portable tank," Greenberg said. "This reduces the water migrating off site. This temporary system will continue under EPA/EGLE oversight until a long term solution is in place."

At this time, EGLE, EPA, and the Madison Heights Fire Department are continuing to work together on next steps in rectifying this situation.