Apr 25, 2019

Michigan Storm Drain May Contain Contaminants

A milky substance in Sterling Heights, Mich., storm water drain may be a contaminant

A milky substance in Sterling Heights, Mich., storm water drain may be a contaminant
A milky substance in Sterling Heights, Mich., storm water drain may be a contaminant.

In Michigan, Macomb County officials believe concrete washout may be the substance found in a Sterling Heights storm water drain.

According to the Detroit Free Press, concrete washout water is what is left over after cement work was cleaned up.

"The wash water contains toxic metals and is caustic and corrosive," according to the Detroit Free Press. Additionally, it must properly be disposed of so it does not enter the storm drain system.

According to public works officials, investigators walked the Burr Relief #2 Drain and visited area businesses to determine the source.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the substance was reported Thursday, April 18. People from the city, county public works and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality are working on the response.

Rain hampered the operation, heavier water flow volumes to the drains, officials said.

Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said the goal was to prevent material from traveling farther downstream. A sediment curtain was installed to prevent material from entering the Plumbrook Drain, according to the Press.

“Once we establish the source of this material, we will be working with the property owner to correct this situation," Miller said. "At the very least, they should be ready to pay for the cost of this response. This should not fall on the taxpayer."

According to the Press, the public works office sent out flyers on how to handle concrete washout to county concrete business'. 

“This is part of our comprehensive effort to get the word out, that actions that we take have a direct impact on our water quality," Miller said, according to the Press. "Education is a key component of what we do."

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