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Investigation continues into chemicals that turned Macomb County drain bright blue-green

Bear Creek Drain
Macomb County Public Works
Chemical contamination in Bear Creek Drain in Macomb County

Officials are still cleaning up, and investigating, a chemical spill into the Bear Creek Drain in Macomb County.

The chemicals, at present unknown, turned the creek bright blue-green. The drain eventually flows into Lake St. Clair.

Candice Miller is the county's public works commissioner. She said Friday that investigators quickly determined the source was a former metal plating company upstream.

"They immediately secured the site so nothing else is getting into the drain," she said. "Now, how much got into the drain and what it was is still a question."

Miller said she was very pleased at the speed at which various agencies, including the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, sprang into action, and how well everyone involved cooperated in the investigation.

"They sampled all the way along this Bear Creek Drain, which then goes into another drain, and then into the Clinton River and of course out into Lake St. Clair," Miller said. "Unfortunately I think most of whatever entered into the drain is probably down the river and into the lake by now."

EGLE's lab is running tests to determine the chemicals involved in the contamination.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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