On May 7, a substantial amount of an oily substance was reportedly discovered on Square Lake Road, between St. Joseph Street and Pine Ridge Road.

On May 7, a substantial amount of an oily substance was reportedly discovered on Square Lake Road, between St. Joseph Street and Pine Ridge Road.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

State rep raises alarm on oily spill on Square Lake Road

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 10, 2024


WEST BLOOMFIELD — According to a press release from the West Bloomfield Police Department, at around 1 a.m. May 7, an oily substance was discovered on Square Lake Road, between St. Joseph Street and Pine Ridge Road.

“A preliminary examination of the oily substance determined it was not harmful. However, the road conditions are still too slick for traffic to pass through. As a result, the affected stretch of Square Lake Road, between St Joseph St and Pine Ridge Road, is closed until further notice while cleanup efforts take place,” the release states.

According to the release, motorists were being advised to avoid the area and seek alternative routes.

Noah Arbit, who is the representative for state House District 20, which comprises all of West Bloomfield, shared an update about the incident via a press release that was sent May 10.

“Late Monday evening, the West Bloomfield Police Department closed multiple roadways near Square Lake and Middlebelt roads after an oily substance appeared to be dumped intentionally on the road and throughout the neighborhood,” the release states.

According to the release, Arbit has been in contact with residents, as well as officials from West Bloomfield Township, the Road Commission for Oakland County, the West Bloomfield Police Department and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, known as EGLE.

“I am deeply disturbed by the oil spill that occurred north of Pine Lake this week; the idea that an individual or entity would intentionally and recklessly harm West Bloomfield’s environment, including our lakes, is abhorrent,” Arbit stated via the release. “As a resident of this neighborhood, I have been in touch with concerned residents, visited the site and taken steps to monitor the response efforts,” Arbit said. “I’m grateful for the vigilance of residents who immediately reported the incident, and for the immediate, coordinated response of WBPD, RCOC and the township to investigate, clean up and work to contain any environmental impact.”

The release stated that Pine Lake will require careful monitoring by EGLE following conflicting results from on-site testing of the oily substance conducted by the HAZMAT team and the Pine Lake Association, and that Arbit’s priority is to monitor the area and take appropriate action to ensure the oil does not spread to contaminate Pine Lake.

“Residents in the area, including me, are rightfully concerned by the potential impact on our neighborhood. I have been in contact with EGLE to ensure an aggressive response by the state and will follow the results of both the environmental health assessment and criminal investigation closely. I will continue to do all that I can to ensure an appropriate response, and keep residents updated on any developments,” Arbit stated.

The latest report from the WBPD states that the roadway is open.

According to an email, EGLE is not the lead agency involved in investigating the incident, as the response is “being handled by the local road commission and local hazmat.”

However, according to the email, EGLE was on-site in a supporting role.

“The Road Commission put together a team to address cleanup, and has applied absorbent material to soak up any remaining product on the roadway and hand swept the area,” the email from an EGLE representative states. “Two booms were set — one in a nearby culvert and one in a small drainage ditch near Pine Lake. EGLE has not taken any samples. The Hazmat team did analyze the material and it was not petroleum based or a solvent.”