Fumes in Storm Drains Prompt Hazmat Investigation in Ferndale

Fumes in Storm Drains Prompt Hazmat Investigation in Ferndale

(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 19, 2020)

Ferndale, MI – For two days in a row investigators have responded to calls from a foul odor coming from drains.

On Monday a resident reported the smell – which is similar to nailpolish remover – to the Ferndale Fire Department who also called Oakland County’s Hazmat team and the Michigan Dept. of Great Lakes and energy.

A similar smell was reported early Tuesday evening by employees at Como’s restaurant which is at the corner of 9 Mile and Woodward. The smell was coming from the floor drains.  It could also be smelled through the Downtown area.  The same teams were called in, and are currently investigating.  It is not yet known if the incidents are related, however the smell has reportedly dissipated from the location it was reported Monday.

Fire Chief Jack Pesha said initial tests did discover higher than normal levels of VOCs  (volatile organic compounds) in some of the storm drains tested in the area.  Further testing is needed to give specific results, however the Chief is confident there is no immediate danger to the public.

Como’s decided to close Tuesday evening as the investigation continues and the Hazmat team occupies the parking lot of the restaurant. Danny’s and Imperial remain open for carryout.

The drains are a separate system from the drinking water, so residents need not fear using their water as normal. The investigation is expected to take several hours.

“We may not be able to identify the chemical or it’s source.  There could be any number of causes, but the experts here will do their best and we will give updates to the public as we know more,” Pesha said.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to contact the Ferndale Fire Department when they encounter strange smells.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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