Oil spill is traced to Northville Downs
May 21, 2014 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
The oily sheen on Johnson Creek in Northville, one of the few habitats of brown trout, has been traced to a leak of transmission oil into the waterway from Northville Downs raceway.
Northville Fire Chief James Allen said that on the night of April 25, an employee of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) walked by the creek in Hines Park and noticed the substance in the water. The next morning, the substance was traced to the bridge over Seven Mile Road near the Sheldon Road pathway, almost across the street from Northville Downs. Fire officials on site discovered that the substance was coming from a 10-12 inch pipe near Sheldon Road that dumps into Johnson Creek, the only designated trout stream in Wayne County. Brown trout can only survive in clean, cold water and there is a recorded thriving population of the rare species in Johnson Creek.
Further investigation by staff members from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Southeast Michigan District Office, City of Northville and Wayne County determined the substance was coming through the storm sewer from a freight elevator at the race track.
Investigators said that the elevator had leaked oil into the pit below where a sump pump sent the material into a storm sewer which then sent it to Johnson
Creek. Officials estimated that less than 55 gallons of the oil had leaked into the waterway.
Officials said that the pit at the racetrack and the storm sewer have been thoroughly cleaned of the oil and that members of the DEQ staff are working with managers at Northville Downs to ensure there is no repeat of the accidental discharge.
There was no estimate as to the effects of the spill on the brown trout population.