Elevated Contaminant Levels Found In Creek After Spill In Warren

Metro Detroit Community NewsWarren, MI - The first round of samples taken from Bear Creek and a former plating business in Warren responsible for a chemical release to the creek show chemicals including metals and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were released to the waterway.

Samples taken downstream from the release showed elevated levels of some chemicals, but not at concentrations that would pose immediate risk to humans.

Of all chemicals analyzed in these first samples, only total copper results showed concentrations above those established to protect aquatic life in the stream. The samples were collected and analyzed by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). EGLE will use the sampling data to assess the impact to Bear Creek and the environment, and work with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to ensure the protection of human health. 

The chemical release is suspected to have occurred when a water line in the former Fini-Finish Metal Finishing plating shop broke causing a significant volume of water to flood the shop, located at 24657 Mound Rd. As a result, chemicals associated with the plating business entered storm sewers that flow into Bear Creek. The creek flows into the Red Run Drain and then the Clinton River, which is a tributary to Lake St. Clair.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) led the cleanup effort and turned the site over to Michigan EGLE over the weekend for follow-through. An incident page with information from the EPA is available here.  EGLE’s test data is available here for PFAS results and here for metals.

Officials stress there was no impact to drinking water systems from the release, although all areas water systems were alerted as a precaution. Additional sampling and assessment of the creek will continue this week. Officials continue to advise residents to avoid contact with the creek water.

The EGLE samples were taken from a chemical drum inside the facility, from a catch basin on the facility’s property, and from creek locations between one and two miles downstream from the site. The chemicals identified in the downstream creek waters likely included those released from the facility, mixed with other water in this heavily urbanized stream.

EGLE continues to investigate the circumstances of the release and is monitoring the property owner’s removal of the chemicals from inside the facility. Additional water sampling results are expected later this week.

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