Toxic stream of ‘mystery foam’ near Detroit was PFAS – but from where?

May 8, 2019

The thick white foam pouring through a ravine and rolling over a roadway near an I-75 interchange in southwest Detroit seemed scary and mysterious in summer 2018.

Police were called, Hazmat crews wore gloves and boots to get samples, and Schaefer Highway was closed for the so-called “foam events” over several days in early August.

By the time the foam dwindled to a trickle then stopped, the public was told it wasn’t harmful. Officials said the oozing river of foam it may have resulted from construction of a parking lot near Schaefer Highway and I-75 in Melvindale.

Neither was true, investigators now say.

Laboratory tests confirm extremely high concentrations of PFAS in that foam – and officials still are considering “several possible enforcement actions” against more than one “unnamed parties” believed to be responsible for foam so copious it stopped traffic on the industrial thoroughfare on the edge of Detroit, just south of Ford Motor Company’s Rouge complex in Dearborn.

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