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Environment & Science

water faucet
Flickr user Bart / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you want to weigh in on the state's proposal to regulate seven different types of PFAS chemicals found in drinking water, you have until midnight on Friday, January, 31.

EGLE

Preliminary test results indicate pollution from Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights is not contaminating drinking water, nor is it moving into residential areas.

Work continues this week on the Enbridge tunnel planned beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The tunnel would house replacements for the twin pipelines known as Line 5. Michigan leaders are still locked in legal action with the company over the project. Last week, a panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected a state request to halt construction.

work being done under Mackinac bridge
Enbridge

Today on Stateside, we talk to the head of Enbridge's tunnel project about what's happening with Line 5. Plus, a conversation with the Detroit-based metal band I Prevail, which is nominated for two Grammy Awards this year.

A picture of the night sky with trees on the horizon in Dr. T.K. Lawless Park
International Dark Sky Association

When you look up at the night sky what do you see? For many of us, light pollution limits the view. But a new dark sky park in Cass County, Michigan will provide a place to see the night sky in its full glory.

Nutty for squirrels? There's a group for that.

Jan 21, 2020
this is a photo of a squirrel having a snack
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Nowadays, there's a day to celebrate everything. Tuesday January 21 is no exception. On that day, squirrel enthusiasts can celebrate all things squirrels. Why? Because it's National Squirrel Appreciation Day! A day to learn, celebrate, and acknowledge the furry friends that you likely cross paths with on a regular basis. 

The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station right on Lake Huron in Ontario.
user Cszmurlo / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan Congressional representatives have introduced a resolution to oppose storing nuclear waste near the Great Lakes.

The resolution was introduced by Representatives Dan Kildee and John Moolenaar, along with Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters.

It’s not the first time a resolution like it has been introduced in Congress.

U.S. EPA

Thirty years before toxic green ooze spilled onto a Madison Heights road, the state's Pollution Emergency Alerting System hotline received a complaint about chemical storage pits dug into the basement of Electro-Plating Services (EPS).

For three years, it appears the state took no action. Then, in 1993, another complaint was made to the hotline. This time, the state investigated.

Aerial view of the Detroit River
Wikimedia Commons

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has contacted two companies regarding a collapsed dock site on the Detroit River, calling their response "inadequate." The dock originally collapsed in November, and potentially contaminated soil has been eroding into the river. 

gelman plume
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-12th District) held a community meeting last night to address concerns about the contamination of Ann Arbor’s groundwater by a dioxane plume.

Gelman Sciences, a now defunct company, is responsible for the contamination of the groundwater with a chemical called 1,4 dioxane. Gelman had been assisting with cleanup through extraction wells in 2019, but the plume continues to spread closer and closer to the Huron River, the source of Ann Arbor’s drinking water.

A photo of the pit in the EPS basement before the 2017 emergency clean-up.
U.S. EPA

Democratic US Representative Rashida Tlaib of Detroit is asking the U.S. EPA to help clean up another contaminated property owned by Gary Sayers. Sayers owns a warehouse in Detroit as well as Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights.

a sign that says Flint River along the actual flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, it’s been four years since the state announced a criminal investigation into the Flint water crisis. We talked to two journalists who covered the crisis about lessons learned on government accountability and public health. Plus, the state of Michigan files suit against some of the biggest names in corporate America over PFAS contamination. We'll hear about how a similar case played out in Minnesota. 

green ooze
Michigan Dept. of Transportation

On December 20, a neon green slime was discovered leaking onto I-696 in Madison Heights. 

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Contaminated water is still migrating off the property of Electro-Plating Services, despite pumps installed inside the building. 

That's according to Tracy Kecszemeti, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy's district supervisor of materials management.

Read more: First day of trial: regulators paint grim picture of conditions at Electro-Plating Services

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.

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