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Yellow ooze that leaked onto I-Michigan highway identified as cancer-causing Hexavalent chromium

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Posted at 6:36 AM, Dec 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-23 07:36:25-05

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. — Police in Michigan have identified a yellow ooze that seeped on to a locla highway as Hexavalent chromium — a cancerous chemical.

The drainage shut down the right lane and right shoulder on eastbound I-696 at Couzens in Madison Heights Friday afternoon. Around 2:30 p.m., Madison Height Fire Dispatch asked state troopers to block off freeway lanes while crews cleaned up the liquid spill.

Investigators later discovered the leak was coming from a commercial building on East 10 Mile Road. Troopers say the Hexavalent chromium ran from the building's basement, "down into the ground and found its way through a drain which empties onto eastbound I-696."

Macomb County Public Works engineers and staff worked with state and federal agencies to monitor the then bright yellow-green substance. While the spill took place outside Macomb County, any liquid that entered storm drains along I-696 eventually traveled to Lake St. Clair, officials advised.

At about 2 30 PM on 12/20, we were asked by Madison Heights Fire Dispatch to block the right lane of east bound I-696 near Couzens while the fire department cleaned up a liquid spill. pic.twitter.com/WGFy5sYDkk

— MSP Metro Detroit (@mspmetrodet) December 21, 2019

"Pollution knows no county or city boundaries. Our first duty is to protect our local water and we stand ready to assist our federal and state partners to contain this material," said Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller. "The federal EPA and state EGLE, as well as the Madison Heights Fire Department, are on site and my staff is in close communication with them to ensure that this material is captured before it can migrate to the lake."

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicated that once the chemical came up through the drain, it froze into a yellow blob. 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.

"Our number one priority is protect and preserve the water quality in our magnificent Great Lakes," Miller said.

Macomb County Public Works operates a 24-hour hotline that you can use to report pollution in local drains or waterways. Call at (877) 679-4337.

"Our number one priority is protect and preserve the water quality in our magnificent Great Lakes," Miller said.

Macomb County Public Works operates a 24-hour hotline that you can use to report pollution in local drains or waterways. Call at (877) 679-4337.

This story was originally published by WXYZ in Detroit.