Man whose business is responsible for I-696 contamination heads to prison


MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – The green substance found seeping onto I-696 has prompted state investigators to look into another location to see if there similar incidents.

READ: Here’s everything we know about the green substance found seeping onto I-696

Gary Sayers, the 77-year-old man whose condemned Madison Heights business is responsible for the I-696 spill, reported federal prison this weekend. He was sentenced in November for illegally storing hazardous materials.

Sayers’ attorney argued the 77-year-old man shouldn’t spend time behind bars.

Sayers was sentenced to a year in federal prison and ordered to pay nearly $1.5 million in restitution after he pleaded guilty to storing hazardous materials at the Electroplating Services building.

After years of on-going disputes with local, state and federal regulatory agencies, Sayers’ property in Sanilac County is now under investigation.

“We’ve been there in 2017.” said Jill Greenberg, with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. “We looked around. We found no hazardous materials we are going back to make sure that’s still the case.”

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy is waiting on test results after the chemical hexavalent chromium — a known carcinogen used in the plating process — was found oozing onto I-696. Engineers bore 25 holes at the building Thursday to access the water table to check for contamination.

“That’s what the borings are going to tell us,” Greenberg said. “They’re going to show us it’s appearing here, not here, at this depth. That will inform our long term remediation plans. So far, we’ve collected 11,000 gallons of contaminated liquid.”

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