Expert says 'quite a bit' of contamination left behind causing green ooze in Madison Heights

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Posted at 5:17 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 07:32:50-05

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — We’re getting a clearer picture of what’s causing the green ooze toxic contamination that is flowing from the closed Electro-Plating Services site in Madison Heights and onto I-696.

State and federal officials have said rainwater and groundwater flowing through a vat in the basement caused Hexavalent Chromium to leak out.

Dr. Bill Shuster takes it a step further telling 7 Action News, “This water is picking up the contaminants that are still in the soil there.”

Dr. Shuster is the Chair of Wayne State University Civil and Environmental Engineering. That’s the same department that gave expert advice in the Flint Water Crisis.

The EPA spent $1.4 million to do a massive cleanup inside the facility after the state shut it down in 2016. Before and after pictures of the vat in the basement are key to what happened. It is 10’ X 10’ and 6’ deep. We are told the EPA drained it and flushed it twice. Then filled it with gravel as the after picture shows. How much contamination was left behind? Our expert speculates, “We would have to look at the data and analyze what’s in the effluent. Well, the gut instinct there was quite a bit left in there.”

Dr. Shuster says options to prevent trouble after the cleanup included excavating the vat, making sure it is not coming in contact with groundwater and he says, “I probably would have capped it, ensured that water wouldn’t be getting in from the top. Into the pit. I can’t criticize EPA or MEDQ EGLE but if I was in charge, these are the things I would be looking at.”

The EPA is continuing to drill borings to see how far the contamination has moved off the site underground.

The City of Madison Heights is suing the owner of the business, Gary Sayers to pay for the rest of the cleanup and demolition of the building. The case goes to court Wednesday morning in Oakland County. Sayers wants to delay the case as he’s in federal prison for illegal storage of hazardous materials.