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Strong Odor Near DMC Likely from Paint Product Dumped in Sewer

Want to get as many eyes on this one as possible. I can’t fathom the gall/lack of awareness it would take to pour large quantities of toxic materials down a sewer. Apparently the crew who are rebranding Detroit need to step up their outreach efforts to those who consider the city is a dumping ground. While hazmat suits most likely make for great ruin porn, I don’t think its what the creative class has in mind when considering which urban areas to repopulate.

All ‘snarkyness’ aside, speaking as someone whose entire family was poisoned by Detroit sewage gas that leaked into a North Corktown basement, if you smell something out of the ordinary take action and call straight away. Detroit has been used as a dumping ground for decades so we should pay attention to our noses. ~Gregg 

Published : Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 12:37 PM EDT

DETROIT (WJBK) — Flushing the sewer system around the Detroit Medical Center, the water
department and a hazardous materials crew took action Tuesday.
We’re told people started smelling a strong odor in the area around 7:00 a.m., but nobody called the fire department until 9:30 a.m. They said it was likely some type of paint product and a whole lot of it.
“Someone dumped something in the sewers, probably about a mile north of here,” said Detroit Fire Acting Chief 1 Bob Valgoi. “To me, it sort of smelled like a lacquer, like a paint thinner kind of an odor.”
“It had to be a big volume. It had to be something really big.”
It was a big concern for people in the area. Fortunately, testing showed nobody was in danger, but the strong odor lasted for hours.
“We’re monitoring all the sewers along here to check for explosive levels and volatile chemical levels, and all we’re getting is readings of some kind of a paint product,” Valgoi said.
“We want to make sure that our people are safe. We did some air monitoring inside, check out the odor complaints, and, so far, we haven’t found anything,” said Tom Perez, director of Environmental Health and Safety with Wayne State University.
It’s not clear who is even responsible for dumping massive amounts of potentially hazardous materials into the city’s sewer.
“These are our sewer pipes, so this is going to the wastewater treatment plant, and hopefully they know how to handle it there before it goes into the Detroit River,” said Melissa Damaschke with the Sierra Club.
She works to protect the Great Lakes and urges people to report illegal dumping.
“Make sure you call 911 so that … person can be prosecuted for illegal dumping, and then, of course, that also notifies the proper officials so that it can be taken care of right away,” Damaschke said.
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