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EPA crews heading to I-696 contamination site today to stop spread of cancer-causing chemicals

Cleanup cost estimated at $2 million
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Posted at 4:43 AM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-02 12:25:08-05

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Today crews with the Environmental Protection Agency will be at the I-696 contamination site in an effort to stop any cancer-causing chemicals from spreading on the highway—and other areas near the building where the green ooze originated.

The ooze that made it’s way onto 696 started at Electro Plating Services in Madison Heights.

There are plans today to board up the building, as well as put up a fence.

An official with the Environmental Protection Agency tells 7 Action News they have been maintaining a pumping system to make sure this cancer-causing ooze stops seeping onto the highway.

The site, in Madison Heights just west of Dequindre, is also close to where people live, commercial buildings and industrial properties.

The EPA has said there is no risk to drinking water intakes in Lake St. Clair. But they have found high levels of multiple contaminates in the soil and groundwater surrounding Electro Plating Services.

Today’s efforts will help them determine how to stop that contamination from spreading.

“We have scheduled a subsurface investigation so we can move on to the next step, and that’s trying to fix the problem underground so we can halt further contamination going onto the highway," said Terry Stilman, an on-scene EPA coordinator.

The EPA ordered a halt to production at the facility back in 2016 – after inspectors discovered hundreds of corroded drams, vats and other containers of hazardous waste.

The owner, Gary Alfred Sayers, was sentenced to a year in federal prison for illegal storage of hazardous waste.

He is scheduled to turn himself in sometime this month.

The EPA estimates the cleanup efforts will cost $2 million. The efforts to clean the site set to last more than four months.