While green certainly is a primary celebratory color during the wintertime holiday season, the hue took on a completely new meaning on weekend following Christmas. Beginning on Saturday, December 21, 2019, a highly toxic bright green liquid gushed onto Interstate 696 in Michigan.
The highly hazardous gusher of green goop contained extremely dangerous hexavalent chromium or chromium-6. The public at large became familiar with this carcinogenic chemical in 2000 when iconic actress Julia Roberts won the Academy Award for her portrayal of crusader Erin Brockovich, a single mother who took on a California energy company that contaminated the soil and water in a working-class community with hexavalent chromium.
In this instance, the hexavalent chromium was flowing out of a closed and now abandoned plating company called Electro-Plating Services, located in Madison Heights, Michigan, outside Detroit. The geyser of the powerfully perilous chemical initially caused a backup on the Interstate affecting thousands of holiday-traveling motorists. There was no immediate indication as to when the roadway would reopen and it was expected to be shutdown during the prime travel period for about a week.
EPA Cleanup Evidently Incomplete
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was said to have intervened over a year earlier to oversee the cleanup and eradication of the hexavalent chromium or chromium-6 and other harmful chemicals and waste at the industrial plant site. For reasons that investigators are attempting to discern, the cleanup evidently was incomplete, a reality evidenced by the large volume of hexavalent chromium flowing unabated onto the highway before Christmas. The hexavalent chromium and other toxic substances are said to have been an issue at the plant for over 20 years.
The initially unabated gush of the toxic chemical onto the roadway revealed that hexavalent chromium (and likely other chemicals) have been flowing from the Michigan industrial plant for an unknown period of time, contaminating soil and ground water and presenting what may prove to be a sizable, serious health risk to people in the community. In fact, Michigan health officials described the situation emanating from the industrial plant as creating an imminent threat to “health and safety.”
Owner of Plant Convicted, Sentenced to Prison
A month before the poisonous green ooze flowed onto the interstate highway the owner of Electro-Plating Services, Gary Sayers, was sentenced to a year in prison followed by a three-year term of supervised release for what was classified as a “hazardous waste felony.” The owner of the plant was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of about $1.5 million to the EPA for the incomplete work undertaken by that agency in “cleaning up” the toxic waste site created by Sayers and his company.
Evidence presented during court proceedings made it clear that the owner of the plating service plant dug a pit in the basement of the facility himself into which the highly dangerous hexavalent chromium or chromium-6 was dumped, along with other toxic agents. As has been noted, the toxic pit was only one of multiple hazardous issues on the premises of the plant.
Protect Your Rights after an Industrial Accident
The dramatic situation that played out in Michigan just prior to Christmas and Chanukah in 2019 is not an isolated example of hazardous materials from an industrial plant contaminating the soil, air, and water in a community – situations that expose innocent men, women, and children to the risk of serious harm and disease, including fatal injury.
If you or a loved one believe you’ve been exposed to hazardous materials as the result of some sort of industrial accident, mishap, or malfeasance, you best protect your vital legal rights by promptly seeking legal assistance. You can schedule a consultation with a Doan Law Firm industrial accident injury lawyer by calling (800) 349-0000 any time of the day or night.
A nationwide law practice, The Doan Law Firm maintains offices from coast-to-coast in the United States. An initial consultation and case evaluation with an industrial accident injury lawyer can be scheduled anytime and anywhere convenient for you. A virtual appointment can also be arranged online. There is no charge for an initial consultation with an industrial accident injury lawyer from our firm.
The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee promise to all of its clients. The firm never charges an attorney fee unless the team at The Doan Law Firm wins for a client.