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Macomb Co. official: Yellow ooze highlights need to protect Great Lakes

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Posted at 9:17 AM, Dec 23, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-01 14:12:37-05

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Did you see the yellow ooze seeping onto I-696 in Madison Heights Friday?

The liquid spill was cleaned up, but Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller said the contamination points out the need to protect Great Lakes water quality.

“Michigan EGLE and EPA were quickly on the job and engaged in this clean up on what was essentially a holiday weekend. This issue points out the need to monitor and have a means to capture the storm water off our major freeways – which amounts to millions of gallons of water per year directly entering into Lake St. Clair and the Great Lake system,” Miller said. “This cleanup will continue through the holiday week and we appreciate this dedication.”

“While we applaud the actions taken initially to clean up the business site where this hexavalent chromium was illegally stored, we are concerned by initial reports that the groundwater around this business was not tested or remediated, allowing this leakage on to I-696 to occur. It has been reported that $1.5 million was spent on this clean up, so to hear that the groundwater wasn’t at least tested, that raises concerns,” Miller said.

Miller said the ooze provides a "teachable moment" that can educate the public about pollution concerns and provide an opportunity for agencies to improve operations.

“This shows us the need for all of us to review our procedures when we have an incident on I-696, I-94 or other major roadways. With so much of this storm water going directly out into the lake, we need better plans in place to protect our magnificent Great Lakes,” she said.