Video Interview: Madison Heights Leaders Answer Questions About Chemical Waste Site
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 14, 2020)
Madison Heights, MI – On Dec. 20, 2019 the public became aware of what’s become known as the “green slime” or “green ooze” found leaking from a storm drain onto I-696 in Madison Heights. In the weeks since, officials in Madison Heights have been working with local, state, and national agencies to address the needs of a property where the owner had been dumping toxic chemicals into a pit in the basement.
Electro-Plating Services was closed down in Dec. 2016 after the fire department noticed unlabeled barrels while doing a fire inspection at the facility. They alerted state and federal agencies, who came in, closed the building, removed the barrels, and cleaned the building and the tanks used in production. They also pumped out the pit in the basement and filled it in with gravel as a start to cleanup efforts.
The building has been vacant since that time, and the City of Madison Heights is in court fighting for the right to have the building itself demolished. The cleanup of the contaminated soil is a separate matter, and officials are still sorting out what needs to be done, how much it will cost, and who will pay for it.
The owner of the business, Gary Sayers, is currently serving 1 year in a federal prison in West Virgina for illegal handling of hazardous waste in connection with the EPA’s investigation. Sawyers has been ordered to repay $1.5 million for the 2017 cleanup.
Oakland County Times sat down with Madison Heights City Manager Melissa Marsh and Mayor Pro Tem Roslyn Grafstein to talk about what happened and answer some of the most common questions that have been coming from residents and neighbors.
Grafstein also shared a video made by fellow Councilperson Kymm Clarke when the pair went on a tour of the building with other officials including State Representative Jim Ellison and State Senator Jeremy Moss that gives an inside look at the building in recent days.
Marsh said there will be an informational meeting the first week of February, with details to be announced. The City of Madison Heights has published updates on their Facebook page, and there is a resident group and website dedicated to the civil discussion and information-gathering called Madison Heights Clean Up.