MDHHS, Wayne County recommend evacuation for areas of Flat Rock due to hazardous fumes from gas leak

Posted by The Huron Hub | Sept. 5, 2021

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Wayne County Health Department (WCHD) are recommending residents of the Flat Rock area bounded by I-75 to the east, Gibraltar Road to the north, Cahill Road to the west and Woodruff Road to the south evacuate their homes until further notice due to the potential risks caused by fumes from a gasoline leak from a storage tank at the Ford Motor Co.’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant. Response teams will go door-to-door immediately beginning Sunday, Sept. 5, in affected areas to ensure residents are informed and receive quick and accurate information about evacuation.

In addition to the smaller geographic area described above, there is a broader area of Flat Rock under investigation for potential exposure. This area is bounded by Gibraltar Road to the north, Sheeks Road to the west, East Huron River Drive to the south, and Tamarack Road to the East, as well as buildings along Woodruff between East Huron River Drive and Cahill Road. MDHHS and Wayne County want to make the residents aware of the potential for the chemicals to have traveled to this area and that the area will be under investigation. If residents are concerned about potential exposure to chemicals in their home, they may want to evacuate their homes until further information is available.

At this time, it is unclear which specific homes may be at risk and it is possible residents in some areas of the potentially impacted area have not been exposed. The City of Flat Rock, WCHD, MDHHS, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) continue to work together to understand the potential risks and will update the community as more information is learned. If you need assistance with evacuation and/or relocation, please call Flat Rock’s hotline at 734-782-2455, ext. 6.

The community is at risk of exposure to high levels of benzene, considered a total Volatile Organic Compound (VOC), which can be harmful to human health. Measurements of air inside buildings and sewer lines have shown levels of VOCs exceeding health protective and/or explosive levels.

Benzene is a flammable and colorless liquid with a sweet odor used to make other chemicals. It is found in gasoline, crude oil and tobacco smoke. Breathing in higher levels of benzene can cause people to feel sleepy or dizzy, have headaches, vomit or have a rapid heart rate. Both long- and short-term exposure to benzene can increase risks of cancer, cause blood problems, and harm the immune system. Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms or health concerns, or if you believe you may have been exposed.

“We urge Michiganders in the affected areas to take swift action and evacuate their homes,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “You may not be able to see or smell the vapors that could put your health at risk, and we recommend everyone in the affected area consider relocating until further notice and we can confirm it is safe to return to your homes.”

On Aug. 31, MDHHS received a report regarding a potential release of an unknown chemical into the sewer. Along with local, state and federal partners, MDHHS responded to investigate and address the concerns which resulted in confirmation of harmful vapors in the community.

Air sampling conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified elevated levels of VOCs throughout the Flat Rock sanitary sewer system. Partners are working to slow the spread of these chemicals and stop further exposure. Continued monitoring will measure the impact of the contamination in the sewer lines throughout Flat Rock.

MDHHS partnered with the City of Flat Rock, the Wayne County Health Department, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to identify the source, which was confirmed Friday as being the Flat Rock Assembly Plant.

As this is an evolving situation, we will continue to provide updates as they become available.


Governor Whitmer Declares State of Emergency for City of Flat Rock and Wayne and Monroe Counties Due to Detection of Hazardous Fumes

Posted by The Huron Hub | Sept. 2, 2021 | 10:40 p.m. EST

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today declared a state of emergency for the City of Flat Rock and Wayne and Monroe counties, after an unknown odor was detected in the city’s sewer system.

“We are working closely with local officials and emergency crews to investigate the source of these fumes and protect the safety of residents in the area,” said Governor Whitmer. “My top priority is ensuring that every resource is available to the City of Flat Rock, Wayne County, and Monroe County to determine where the odor originated, so that we can clean up the affected area and prevent further harm. I’m grateful to the leadership in the City of Flat Rock, Wayne County, Monroe County, and all of the first responders who have been on the ground keeping people safe.”

By declaring a state of emergency, Governor Whitmer has made available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the designated area. The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already been doing in conjunction with local agencies.

“The Flat Rock community should be able to go to sleep tonight knowing that their homes and businesses remain safe, and that clean-up efforts are already underway,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. “Working with the EPA, state, county, and city leaders, we were able to mobilize immediately and take concrete steps to address this issue before it reached additional homes and put more of our neighbors at risk. As we rapidly begin clean-up efforts, I thank the EPA, Governor Whitmer, and our partners on the ground for working quickly to enact this state of emergency to get our community the resources they need now.”

On September 1, the City of Flat Rock declared a local state of emergency after discovering high levels of an unknown gas in the city sewer system and nearby homes. Hazmat teams have worked around the clock to evacuate impacted areas and to find the source of the fumes. Wayne County also declared a state of emergency and requested the governor’s declaration.

The declaration of a local state of emergency activates local emergency response and recovery plans. By requesting a governor’s declaration, the county has determined local resources are insufficient to address the situation and state assistance is required to protect the health, safety and property to lessen or avert the threat of a crisis.


‘Unusual odor’ reported out of Flat Rock this week

Posted by The Huron Hub | Sept. 2, 2021

An “unusual odor” has plagued the city of Flat Rock this week.

A release from the city says that the strange odor was first reported on Tuesday.

The city says various environmental departments and other local agencies are currently investigating the odor.

The release said that if anyone experiences illnesses related to the odor, to immediately call 911 and step outside to fresh air.

Here is the full press release from the city:


I-275 project update: Additional northbound lane closures during nights and weekends for patching

Posted by The Huron Hub | Sept. 1, 2021


TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS AND UPDATES:

Pennsylvania Road reopened today over I-275.

Tuesday, Aug. 31, through mid-September

Night and weekend work will begin Aug. 31 on northbound I-275 from South Huron Drive to 5 Mile Road for patching lanes that will handle traffic when rebuilding begins in 2022. Northbound I-275 will have one lane open this week 7 p.m. – 6 a.m. nightly Tuesday night through Friday morning. Work will stop for Labor Day weekend but will resume nightly beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, through mid-September.

Through Friday, Sept. 3 (9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily):

The eastbound Eureka Road ramp to northbound I-275 will be closed intermittently.

The westbound Eureka Road ramp to southbound I-275 will be closed intermittently.

Through late September Eastbound and westbound M-14 will have single-lane closures. The Schoolcraft Road bridge is reopening this week.

Tuesday, Sept. 7, through Friday, Sept. 24:

The metro trail will be closed for substructure bridge work over the trail.

Thursday, Sept. 9, through late fall:

Southbound I-275 will have one lane open from Sibley Road to Will Carlton Road. The section from I-94 to Sibley Road will have all lanes open.

Wednesday, Sept. 15 through late fall:

Northbound I-275 will have one lane open from Will Carlton Road to Sibley Road. There will be three lanes open from Sibley Road to Northline Road, where traffic is reduced to two lanes up through 5 Mile Road.

6 Mile Road will be closed over I-275 for bridge improvements through early October with traffic detoured:

I-275/6 Mile Road detours:

Northbound I-275 traffic heading for westbound 6 Mile Road will use northbound I-275 to westbound 7 Mile Road, then southbound I-275 to westbound 6 Mile Road.

Southbound I-275 traffic heading for eastbound 6 Mile Road will use southbound I-275 to eastbound Ann Arbor Road, then northbound I-275 to eastbound 6 Mile Road.

Eastbound 6 Mile Road will be detoured to northbound Haggerty Road, then eastbound 7 Mile Road to southbound Newburgh Road back to eastbound 6 Mile Road.

Westbound 6 Mile Road will be detoured to northbound Newburgh Road, then westbound 7 Mile Road to southbound Haggerty Road back to westbound 6 Mile Road.

During this major multi-year project, work will be occurring in multiple areas at different times. Go to http://www.Revive275.org for more project details and updates.

I-275 PROJECT DETAILS:

The Michigan Department of Transportation will be repairing and rebuilding 24 miles of I-275 between Will Carlton Road and 6 Mile Road in Wayne County in six phases over four years. The project includes 10 miles of concrete pavement repairs, 14 miles of rebuilding concrete pavement, asphalt resurfacing of four interchanges, rebuilding concrete pavement of parts or all of six interchanges, improving 65 bridges and a retaining wall, drainage improvements, sign replacements, traffic signal modernizations, intelligent transportation system (ITS) improvements, sidewalk improvements that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and tree replacements. Additionally, a segment of the Metro Trail will be rebuilt to replace an adjacent retaining wall.

Funding for this project is made possible by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan program to rebuild the state highways and bridges that are critical to the state’s economy and carry the most traffic. The investment strategy is aimed at fixes that result in longer useful lives and improves the condition of the state’s infrastructure.

SAFETY BENEFITS:

This project will result in a smoother driving surface, extending the lifespan of the roadway and increasing safety. Drainage will also be improved by this work.


Wayne County issues mask mandate for schools

Posted by The Huron Hub | Aug. 27, 2021

Wayne County today issued a mask mandate for all schools.

Here is the press release from the county.

The Wayne County Public Health Department today issued a new order mandating local school districts, schools and daycare providers require students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear a face mask while in school and during school-sponsored indoor events. The order takes effect immediately. A copy of the order is attached to this release.

Specifically, today’s order directs schools and daycare providers to:

Require indoor wearing of face masks for all pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students, regardless of their vaccine status; and,

Require face masks be worn indoors by all teachers, administrative staff, other employees, parent/guardians, attendees, and volunteers.

Last week, Wayne County Public Health officials issued “strong recommendations” that all school districts implement a COVID-19 safety plan that includes a universal mask requirement. With today’s order, wearing a mask while indoors is now mandatory for all students, staff, employees and visitors at public, private and parochial educational settings, including daycare centers, throughout Wayne County.

Walk-in vaccinations are available to residents at Wayne County clinics for both initial shots and boosters. Appointments as well as arrangements for in-home booster for homebound residents can be made by calling 1-866-610-3885 or text “WAYNE VAX” to 48355.

For information about ways Wayne County residents can protect themselves against COVID-19 visit www.waynecounty.com/covid19.


Heat advisory issued for Wednesday

Posted by The Huron Hub | Aug. 25, 2021

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the metro Detroit area on Wednesday.

More info:

…HEAT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 8 PM EDT THIS EVENING…

  • WHAT…Heat index values in the upper 90s to near 100 degrees.
  • WHERE…Livingston, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Wayne, Lenawee and Monroe Counties.
  • WHEN…From 1 PM this afternoon to 8 PM EDT this evening.
  • IMPACTS…Hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur.
  • ADDITIONAL DETAILS…High temperatures are expected to reach and slightly exceed 90 degrees, pushing heat indices into the upper 90s to near 100 degrees this afternoon. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 9 1 1

Camilleri’s grade separation fund bill passes House; paves way for building bridges at problematic rail crossings

In Huron Township, blocked railroad crossings, like this one seen here at Sibley Road, are common occurrences. Crossings in Huron can sometimes be blocked for over an hour at a time, posing an obvious safety risk to the community. (Huron Hub file photo)

Posted by The Huron Hub | Aug. 18, 2021

After years of work on the issue and months of negotiations, House Bills 4523 and 4524, which would create a statewide fund to build bridges at the most dangerous rail crossings in Michigan, passed the Michigan House of Representatives today with overwhelming bipartisan support.

State Reps. Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton) and Phil Green (R-Millington), the primary bill sponsors, say this brings us one step closer to improving public safety, creating new economic opportunities, and solving some of our state’s most complex transportation issues once and for all.

“This is a huge victory not only for our Downriver community, but our entire state,” said Camilleri, who initially developed the statewide grade separation fund legislation back in 2017. “Fixing our train issue has been one of my top priorities for years, and the passage of these bills today brings us one step closer to solving one of our state’s most pressing transportation problems once and for all. This program will improve public safety, unlock new economic opportunities, and improve lives, and I am so grateful we have been able to work across the aisle to get this done for the people of Michigan.”

Based on a successful program in Indiana, these bills would create a dedicated fund within the Michigan Department of Transportation’s budget to build grade separations at priority crossings statewide. 

“Across the state, rail grades have led to lengthy wait times and routing issues for local emergency services while trains move through crossings,” Green said. “This program will help alleviate those issues and the substantial cost of grade separation by providing grants that prioritize addressing those crossings.”

Among other key locations, Camilleri added that this fund could help build bridges at crossings in Huron Township and Trenton, which currently cause hours of delays for drivers and pose a serious public safety risk.

Article source: Darrin Camilleri


Thousands of DTE customers without power following afternoon storms

Posted by The Huron Hub | Aug. 11, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. est

Severe thunderstorms blasted the southeast Michigan area Wednesday afternoon causing thousands of power outages.

A check of the DTE outage map shows power outages scattered all across the area.

Here is a screen shot showing the local outages:

DTE says over 300,000 total customers across the state are without power at this time.

At the time this was published, no estimated restoration times were listed on the outage map.

You can check the outage map at this link: outage.dteenergy.com/map

Forecasters say the severe storm threat remains a possibility into the evening as more storms are moving across the state tonight.



Thousands of DTE customers without power following afternoon storms

Posted by The Huron Hub | Aug. 11, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. est

Severe thunderstorms blasted the southeast Michigan area Wednesday afternoon causing thousands of power outages.

A check of the DTE outage map shows power outages scattered all across the area.

Here is a screen shot showing the local outages:

DTE says over 300,000 total customers across the state are without power at this time.

At the time this was published, no estimated restoration times were listed on the outage map.

You can check the outage map at this link: outage.dteenergy.com/map

Forecasters say the severe storm threat remains a possibility into the evening as more storms are moving across the state tonight.