Clean-up of oil spill and testing
Posted on 06/24/2024
The site where the building was taken down. Clean-up continues at The Downs development site following an oil spill on Friday, June 21 just before 3 p.m. At that time, the demolition crew’s machinery pierced several old drums along with a poly tote (large storage container) holding an unknown amount of petroleum products while taking down a building. That caused the contaminants to leak on the asphalt and enter the storm drain about 100 feet away.

An official from the Michigan Dept. of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) visited the site today. A sample of the Rouge River water was taken to test for petroleum products. Northville City Fire Chief Matt Samhat said there was no discernable oil slick on the river after the incident on Friday. Additionally, the developer sent out a third-party testing company to collect soil samples from the area for testing of petroleum products, which will take several days.

At the time of the incident, Northville emergency services responded to the site and containment procedures were implemented. The Department of Public Works (DPW) was the first to arrive on the scene and one of the crew members was also an on-call firefighter. The Northville City Fire Department (NCFD) arrived shortly after.

On Friday night, the Western Wayne HazMat Team put an absorbent boom in the river, located just north of 7 Mile between Sheldon Road and Hines, as a precaution. A second boom for containment was added Saturday morning. EGLE surveyed the site on Saturday and noted that necessary precautions had been taken. EPA was also notified.

Also on Friday, the demolition contractor brought in a clean-up contractor. The next day, they set up a lined dumpster to collect the petroleum product that spilled on the asphalt and on debris from the demolished building. They are also removing the asphalt in that area.

City Manager George Lahanas said, “We’ve taken all necessary steps to handle the environmental accident in a timely manner. EGLE has confirmed this during a meeting with them today. We expect the booms to remain in the river for several days. Test results from the river water taken by EGLE will help identify the extent of any petroleum products that may have entered the river.”

The city will share information with the public when updates are available.