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Environment & Science

City of Madison Heights

Environmental regulators painted a grim picture of conditions inside Electro-Plating Services on the first day of a trial on Monday. 

U.S. EPA

State environmental officials say Detroit fire inspectors have found a number of liquid filled pits in the basement of a Detroit warehouse owned by Gary Sayers.

Sayers was recently imprisoned for violations of environmental laws at his company, Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights.

U.S. EPA

State environmental regulators say they'll reassess if Electro-Plating Services qualifies for Superfund status. 

The company is the source of the contaminated green liquid that spilled onto a roadway in Madison Heights in December. 

The U.S. EPA did what's called a "critical removal" of hazardous materials from Electroplating Services in 2017: hauling away anything that seemed like an imminent threat to public health. 

U.S. EPA

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) says it's investigating potentially hazardous chemicals discovered at a Detroit property owned by Gary Sayers, who was recently imprisoned for violations of environmental laws at his company, Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights.

Detroit Fire Department inspectors identified potentially hazardous liquids at the location, 5900 Commonwealth Street, on Friday.

Jaali the black rhino in the rhino barn
Kaiti Chritz | Potter Park Zoo

Update, Thursday, January 9:

The baby black rhino is nameless no more!

The votes have been tallied and Jaali (pronounced like "jolly") is the winner. The name means “powerful” in Swahili. It is also a fitting name for a Christmas Eve baby.

U.S. EPA

Gary Sayers, the owner of Electroplating Services, is now in federal prison.

Sayers' company is the source of the green toxic liquid that poured onto a roadway in Madison Heights in late December.  

Sayers will serve about 11 months -- after nearly two decades of flouting state and federal disposal laws for hazardous materials, including digging a pit in the basement of his factory where he dumped chemicals. 

He leaves behind a building and property contaminated with chromium 6, arsenic and other toxic chemicals. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The U.S. EPA has begun drilling into the soil surrounding a shuttered factory in Oakland County in an effort to figure out just how much toxic chemicals left there have contaminated the surrounding area.

The former Electro-Plating Services facility in Madison Heights was responsible for the green ooze that seeped onto the shoulder of I-696 last month.

Stop the Shoot sign
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor will shut down eleven of its city parks and nature areas after 3:00 p.m. every day from January 2-26, to permit sharpshooters to cull its abundant population of deer.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The ground is getting warmer at one of the state’s most contaminated sites.

The Environmental Protection Agency is using a process called thermal remediation to heat the soil and remove harmful chemicals at the Velsicol Chemical Corp. Superfund site in the town of St. Louis.

U.S. EPA

State environmental regulators say there's no risk to drinking water from contaminated water that spilled onto Interstate 696 last week.  

The green liquid that gushed onto the highway in Madison Heights on December 20th came from a closed factory, Electro-Plating Services. 

PFAS foam along the Huron River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Good news for the city of Ann Arbor's drinking water - and the residents who drink it.

The city's Drinking Water Quality Manager, Sarah Page, says tests have detected no PFOS and PFOA compounds in the past five months.  PFOS and PFOA are two of the most worrisome PFAS compounds.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some Detroit lawmakers and residents are keeping up the fight against the proposed expansion of a hazardous waste facility.

A state permit to allow U.S. Ecology to expand its Detroit operation ten-fold has been pending for years. The facility has stored and processed hazardous waste there for decades.

Darwin Smith Jr. / CC by SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

A popular state campground in West Michigan has put a hold on reservations for next year, over fears the campground could be flooded.

The Channel Campground sits on Muskegon Lake in Muskegon State Park.

Greg Sherburn is the supervisor of the park. He says normally, the campground would open up for Memorial Day weekend reservations about now. But he says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is forecasting high Great Lakes water levels into the spring.

Eva Blue / Unsplash

Wolves on Isle Royale have begun to hunt and travel as a group. 

It’s part of a process park officials say could eventually lead to the formation of the island’s first new pack.

Aerial view of the Detroit River
Wikimedia Commons

The partial collapse of a dock once contaminated with uranium into the Detroit River did not put dangerous levels of chemicals into the waterway, according to new test results from a southeast Michigan water utility.

The Great Lakes Water Authority tested both raw and tap water from its intake site near where the dock collapsed.

PFAS foam along the Huron River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week, the state began collecting PFAS-containing firefighting foam, known as Class B AFFF, that has been held in inventory by fire departments and commercial airports across Michigan.

According to Scott Dean, the spokesman for the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART), the effort is part of the state's $1.4 million plan to collect and dispose of about 35,000 gallons of the foam.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Wolverine Worldwide says it will pay nearly $70 million to build municipal water systems in two communities affected by PFAS contamination. 

The company used the chemicals to waterproof its shoes for years. The harmful chemicals contaminated the ground and entered into local wells.  The company says it will now pay to build the water systems to connect more than 1,000 properties to municipal water in Algoma and Plainfield Townships. It says the plan is part of a tentative agreement to resolve lawsuits involving the state and townships.

PFAS foam along the Huron River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Congress has reached a final agreement on the annual national defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act. This year’s bill includes a number of provisions to regulate the chemical family PFAS.

migrating birds
Photo by Barth Bailey on Unsplash

A new study out of the University of Michigan finds the bodies of migratory birds are shrinking - and it could be due to climate change.

The data was collected in Chicago over roughly 40 years. Researchers collected the bodies of birds that collided with buildings. The study uses some 70,000 birds covering 52 species as its data set.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

State environmental regulators say tests done Friday show below-background levels of radiation at the site of a partial shoreline collapse into the Detroit River. 

Pet coke piles on Detroit riverfront in 2013.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Windsor politician is calling for a bi-national investigation - and an environmental group is calling for the restoration of Michigan's "Polluter Pay" laws.

That's after part of a property owned by Detroit Bulk Storage collapsed into the Detroit River last week.  The collapse is initially being blamed on the weight of massive piles of sand, gravel and other construction materials the company is storing on site.

Group of men sitting on a hill
U.S. Library of Congress

Today on Stateside, an old industrial site contaminated with uranium since the World War II has partially collapsed into the Detroit River. Plus, a group of West Michigan musicians have brought old Michigan folk songs once sung by sailors and lumberjacks back to life.

Tyler Petroelje / SUNY-ESF

Scientists say gray wolves relocated to Isle Royale National Park are adjusting nicely to their new surroundings and finding plenty of prey.

Officials released findings Monday from observations of wolves that were captured on the mainland and taken to the Lake Superior park during the past year.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Officials from the federal, state and county government will be at a public meeting in Manistee on Tuesday to talk about shoreline erosion.

The meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Little River Casino Resort in Manistee.

High water levels on the Great Lakes have caused flooding and erosion all along the Michigan coastline this year.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, we hear about the plan for a unique “net-zero” community in Ann Arbor. Plus, dispelling the stereotype that Michigan wine can't compete on the world stage. 

aeiral view of flooded Grand River
City of Grand Rapids / Facebook

A majority of Michigan’s rivers have more water than usual for this time of year. That’s according to measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Elevated water levels are causing issues for water infrastructure in the state.

City of Howell

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has discovered a toxic chemical in the air near a manufacturing plant in Howell.

Groceries, including milk, eggs and produce, sitting on a counter.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, what newly-released emails between state officials reveal about the behind-the-scenes negotiations that allowed federally-protected gray wolves to be killed in the Upper Peninsula. Plus, on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, a look into the former president's long list of health problems and why they were hidden from public view.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

In the past several years, dozens of communities across Michigan have learned their drinking water is contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. This group of chemicals, commonly referred to as PFAS, are “forever chemicals.” They persist in the environment and in the bodies of people regularly exposed to them without breaking down.

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