Crews used booms and other temporary containment measures after old diesel fuel was found “bubbling up” into the Bear Creek near Mound Road and I-696 last March.

Crews used booms and other temporary containment measures after old diesel fuel was found “bubbling up” into the Bear Creek near Mound Road and I-696 last March.

Photo by Brian Louwers


Bear Creek fuel cleanup nears completion

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published February 14, 2020

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WARREN — A yearlong cleanup effort launched after old diesel fuel was found to be leaking into the Bear Creek near a Warren gas station is wrapping up, according to the Macomb County Public Works Office.

The leak was reportedly discovered near the BP gas station on Mound Road, just north of Interstate 696, in March 2019. It was addressed immediately, according to Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller.

Crews used booms and other temporary containment measures after the old fuel was found “bubbling up into the drain.” As a long-term solution, a containment trench was installed to capture any potential leaks, allowing fuel to be pumped out before it enters the Bear Creek, which flows north and east and connects to the Red Run Drain north of 13 Mile Road and east of Van Dyke Avenue. The Red Run Drain continues north and east before it spills into the Clinton River near Metropolitan Parkway and Utica Road. The river empties into Lake St. Clair.

“It’s probably the busiest gas station, certainly in Macomb County, maybe one of them in the state of Michigan,” Miller said.

The station is intensely used by commercial trucks traveling along Mound and I-696.

“This gas station is a real economic driver for this area,” Miller said. “We wanted to make sure as we were finding this and fixing this spill that we didn’t impact the ability for this gas station to keep driving the economy there.

“I will tell you that the owner of this gas station has been outstanding in working with us,” Miller said.

Dan Heaton, the communications manager for the Macomb County Public Works Office, said gas station owners are required to pay into a fund administered through the Michigan Underground Storage Tank Authority, or MUSTA. According to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy website, MUSTA serves the owners and operators of underground petroleum storage tanks and affected governmental units by managing a cleanup fund and various programs, with the goal of assisting stakeholders with meeting responsibilities related to the remediation of petroleum contamination.

Heaton said no county funds were used in the cleanup effort, apart from the normal cost of monitoring and inspection operations of the Macomb County Public Works Office.  

In a video summarizing the cleanup shared online, Miller said the problem likely started years ago.

“The current owner here was as horrified as we were,” Miller said. “Who knows what happened back in the day?”

Work completed at the site included the installation of monitoring wells, which will enable crews to observe if any further leakage occurs. If no leaks are detected in two years, Miller said, “At that point we’ll feel very confident that nothing else will be going into the drain.”

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