By Cryss Walker

(CBS DETROIT) — Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein says although Electro-Plating Services made headlines in December 2019 following a chemical spill on Interstate 696, the business raised concerns in the city for years.

“Our legal team has been trying to get this condemned, trying to get this cleaned-up but the current owner has continuously fought us every step of the way,” Grafstein said.

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The green ooze that was found leaking on the highway is hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen.

The public health hazard pushed the city council to approve the site to be demolished.

“We have some funding from the state and from the county to help with demolition costs,” Grafstein said.

“A few weeks ago, council approved a contractor who is skilled in this type of demolition.”

The process kicked off Friday, but it will take weeks to flatten the structure.

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Because of the nature of the contamination, it’s not just oh, it’s going to be demolished, here’s a wrecking ball, It all goes to landfill,” Grafstein said.

“They need to go through, they need to process everything, and they need to make sure that everything that’s coming out of there isn’t going to then further contaminate something else.”

Back in 2016, the state shut down Electro-Plating Services after 50 years in business due to decades of chemical mismanagement.

The owner, Gary Sayers, was sentenced to one year in federal prison for illegal storage of hazardous chemicals.

He was also ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution.

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