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Public Works Office
Candice S. Miller
21777 Dunham Road, Clinton Township, MI 48036
(586) 469-5325

Contact: Dan Heaton

Phone: 586-469-7424



March 22, 2019

Macomb, Oakland Counties Seek Source of Red Run Diesel Sheen


An absorbent boom, installed by the Clinton Township Fire Department, is seen on the Red Run Drain on Friday, March 22. The boom was placed just before the Red Run connects with the Clinton River, near Metro Parkway and Hayes Road in Clinton Township.

Drain workers from the Macomb County Public Works Office have spent much of the past week playing detective, looking for the elusive source of diesel fuel sheens that have been spotted in the Red Run Drain, primarily in Warren.

The sheen first appeared on Saturday, March 16, where the Red Run Drain enters Warren from Madison Heights at Dequindre Road, just north of Chicago Road. The Red Run travels in an underground enclosed pipe in Oakland County and then opens up to appear as a natural river as it travels through Macomb County before connecting with the Clinton River near Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights.

The sheen was initially believed contained in booms placed in the Red Run at Dequindre on Saturday, but reports of sheens further downstream prompted booms to be installed in other locations over the week. MCPWO personnel and fire department personnel in Warren and Clinton Township responded to calls from citizens who reported sheens in the Red Run at various points over the past week.

The source of the diesel fuel appears to be coming from the Henry Graham Drain, a large underground drain in Oakland County that discharges into the Red Run just before it enters Warren.

"We've been working with our counterparts in Oakland, stressing to them the importance of finding whatever this is that keeps entering our drain. Whatever this substance is, it passes through all of Macomb County and then into Lake St. Clair. This can't keep happening," said Candice Miller, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner.

Similar sheens in the Red Run have been reported at Dequindre about 3-4 times per year in the two-plus years since Miller became Macomb County's Public Works Commissioner. The sheens have typically appeared after a light rain, but not after every rain, adding to the challenge in located the source.

Engineers and drain specialists from Macomb and Oakland counties will meet next week to attempt to focus the investigation for the source of the recurring spill.

The county and fire departments use absorbent booms and pads to collect the material, which is lighter than water and floats on top of the surface. It is believed all of the material has been caught prior to entering the Clinton River. Light rains several times over the past week have increased the flow in the river, causing the sheens to move, break up and reform.

"Fortunately, we have local residents who care about our waterways and they have been the ones who have been our eyes on this challenge, either calling their local fire department or our 24-hotline, 877-679-4337," Miller said.

"Our overriding priority is clean water. Water quality is key," she said.

As of Friday, March 22, booms remain in place in two locations on the Red Run, although it appears no more sheen is currently entering Macomb County from Oakland at Dequindre. The booms will remain in place for several days after the last of the sheen is seen.



21777 Dunham Road, Clinton Township, MI, 48036