It was discovered on Saturday that the mystery substance was a chemical called hexavalent chromium that was leaking from a nearby business, according to a Twitter thread by Michigan State Police.
WDIV in Detroit reported that authorities said this has happened before. The source the ooze came from is a former local electroplating business that was condemned. The EPA was on site to suck the ooze from the ground, and had been there before in 2016 for a massive cleanup of chemical and hazardous waste. The $2 million cleanup began in June 2017.
The ooze, made of hexavalant chromium is known to cause cancer according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The chemical is usually produced from industrial processes such as plating. The chemical is hazardous to the respiratory system, eyes, skin, kidneys, and liver.
This leaking harmful substance came from the condemned business’es basement and was flowing down into the ground, then emptied itself out of a drain and onto the eastbound I-696, MSP Tweeted. If authorities hadn’t discovered the liquid in time, it could have went into Lake St. Clair, Macomb County public works commissioner Candice Miller said in a statement.
“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicated that once the chemical came up thru the drain, it froze into a yellow blob,” MSP tweeted. “The plan to dispose of the chemical is to bring in a type of excavator, scoop up the frozen waste, and place it into a safe container.”
WDIV reports that officials said it could take days to finish the process of cleaning it all up.
Jill Greenberg, who is a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, said “We have cleaned out the sewers and the clean out drains between the facility and 696. We’re also in the process of cleaning up the basement of the facility.”
The EPA’s Tricia Edwards said the cleanup will take time because of the abundance of clay in that area, and that the liquid was traveling onto the ground clay.
Hexavalent chromium is also called chromium-6, and this particular chemical was featured in the popular movie from 2000 called “Erin Brockovich,” which starred Julia Roberts who played the role of the real life activist who helped sue a utility company in California over the substance leaching into tap water. According to Grist.org, as of January 29, 2019, the town from the movie is still toxic and has nearly been abandoned.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.