Site was responsible for contamination that reached I-696 in December 2019; Groundwater now at safe levels after lengthy cleanup

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. — April 18, 2022 — Madison Heights City Council has awarded a contract to Rochester Hills-based The Adams Group for the demolition of the Electro-Plating Services site at 945 E. 10 mile Road, beginning April 22nd.

The site first gained attention after the discovery in December 2019 of contamination linked to the site that had breached I-696 in Madison Heights in the form of a ‘green ooze’. The City of Madison Heights has been working closely for the past two years with county, state and federal officials to clean up the site and clear the way for demolition, including more than $3.1 million in cleanup spending by the EPA.

City Manager Melissa Marsh explained that two grants totaling $750,000 will cover the cost of the demolition. “Thank you to Oakland County Commissioner Gary McGillivray (D-Madison Heights) and Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter for spearheaded the County effort to award the City $150,000. In addition, were are grateful for the continued support of State Rep. Jim Ellison (D-26th District) and State Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield).

“Fortunately, the county was able to step in and support the City of Madison Heights through this unfortunate situation,” Commissioner McGillivray said. “With the funding the county provided, we’ve been able to help protect the public health and welfare of Oakland County residents by assisting with the demolition of this troublesome site.” Sen. Moss echoed those sentiments, saying the state recognized the importance to the community’s health and well-being of closing this chapter by providing the funds needed to complete the demolition.

“Madison Heights endured the saga at Electro-Plating Services for far too long and this demolition will provide overdue closure for our community,” Sen. Moss said. “We worked closely with our partners in City Hall to express the urgency to help clean up this site and I’m grateful that my colleagues in the Legislature supported our request to allocate the funding needed to bring this building down. This entire incident should compel all of us to be better stewards of our environment and I’ll continue this work in the State Senate to ensure polluters are held accountable.”

County Executive Coulter said he was proud of how everyone came together to support the goal of demolition and keeping residents safe.

“When one of our communities needs help, Oakland County is committed to stepping up to provide the resources that will help keep our residents safe and our environment free from toxic pollutants,” said Oakland County Executive David Coulter. “The local, county, state and federal response in Madison Heights is a perfect example of how we can all help to solve threats to our environment when we work together.”

Gary Sayers, who owned Electro-Plating Services until it was shut down by state regulators in 2016, had been sentenced to one year in federal prison in November 2019 for illegal storage of hazardous chemicals. After serving part of his sentence at the Morgantown Federal Correctional Institute in West Virginia, he was released from prison and ordered to home confinement. He was also ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution.

At the time of its discovery, the ‘green ooze’ seen on I-696 was found to contain high levels of hexavalent chromium, trichloroethylene and nonstick PFAS compounds. However, as of January 2021, the EPA reported that the Electro-Plating site has groundwater that no longer showed excessive levels of contaminants migrating off-site.

The state shut down Electro-Plating Services in 2016, due to decades of chemical mismanagement. The business operated for nearly 50 years. Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein said she and the entire Council are grateful that all levels of government have been able to come together and provide support for this much-anticipated demolition.

“Madison Heights is extremely thankful to all levels of government that have contributed to making this demolition possible, and for their support over the past two years during the cleanup efforts at the Electro-Plating Services site,” Grafstein said. “The safety of our city’s residents is a concern for the entire region, and we’re happy to see that the City can depend on our elected officials at all levels to have our back when it’s most essential.”