A substance with a yellow-like appearance was reportedly observed first by county public works investigators in an open section of the Bear Creek, near 11 Mile and Mound roads in Warren.

A substance with a yellow-like appearance was reportedly observed first by county public works investigators in an open section of the Bear Creek, near 11 Mile and Mound roads in Warren.

Photo provided by the Macomb County Public Works Office


Probe underway after substances spotted in Warren’s Bear Creek

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published March 15, 2019

 The second substance, apparently a petroleum-based material that left a sheen on the surface of the water, was found as a result of the original investigation.

The second substance, apparently a petroleum-based material that left a sheen on the surface of the water, was found as a result of the original investigation.

Photo provided by the Macomb County Public Works Office

WARREN — Efforts to contain and track the source of possible pollutants were underway March 13 after a “yellow-ish substance” and a “petroleum sheen” were observed in a section of Warren’s Bear Creek, near 11 Mile and Mound roads.

According to a press release issued through the Macomb County Public Works Office, absorbent booms were deployed by county employees after what appeared to be two separate substances were observed in the water. The materials were reportedly seen in an open section of the Bear Creek, a partially enclosed drain system that runs through the middle part of Warren and connects to the Red Run Drain, the Clinton River and ultimately Lake St. Clair.

The substance with a yellow-like appearance was reportedly observed first by county public works investigators. The second substance, apparently a petroleum-based material that left a sheen on the surface of the water, was then observed as a result of the original investigation.

“Our first actions are always to quickly marshal any needed resources to control the pollution and limit the impact to the environment,” Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said in a statement. “Now, with these controls in place, we will work to discover where this pollution is coming from and take remedial steps.”

Samples were reportedly collected and sent for analysis. County officials notified local and state-level agencies, including the city of  Warren’s emergency management team — coordinated by the Warren Police Department — and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Warren Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams said the containment operation was coordinated by the county and that no equipment from the Warren Fire Department was required.

“They did notify our Waste Water Treatment Plant of the potential for the spill to impact their facility. They did draw samples,” McAdams said. “Preliminary results say (it is) some sort of petroleum product mixed with antifreeze. They can’t confirm it until the test results come back. They’re going to have to do additional investigative work to determine the source of the flow.”

In December 2017, Miller met reporters on the banks of the Red Run Drain in Sterling Heights to address the discovery of two E. coli “hot spots” channeling dangerous bacteria through Warren storm drains and into county waterways. Miller later said her office worked with city of Warren inspectors to track at least one source of the discharge to an industrial business near 11 Mile and Bunert roads.

Miller has vowed to find and fix problems that adversely affect Lake St. Clair and the Great Lakes.