Flat Rock ER

 
Site Contact:
Phillippa Cannon/Tricia Edwards
Community Contact/On-Scene Coordinator

(cannon.phillippa@epa.gov)

Site Location:
30501 Olmstead
Flat Rock, MI 48134
response.epa.gov/FlatRockER
NRC#: 1315243

The city of Flat Rock has set up a special email (cityofflatrock@gmail.com) for residents who have questions about the  emergency response. If you are a Flat Rock evacuated resident and have questions, or if you are a resident with concerns about the air in your home, please call 734-782-2455, ext. 1105

 
On this page:

Updates

Sept. 24

EPA oversaw visits to 10 homes in preparation for upcoming sampling activities, coordinated sampling activities in 13 residences, and completed two post-sampling home visits.

Additional resources associated with this response:

 An updated Community Resource and Information Guide has been posted in the Documents section of this website.


Sept. 23

Wayne County Local Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, today notified Flat Rock Mayor Hammond that it is safe for most residents in the Zone 1 investigative area to return to their homes. Information about the announcement is available on the City of Flat Rock website.

EPA's Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer mobile lab has finished work in Flat Rock. Since arriving in the city on Sept. 8, the self-contained mobile lab rapidly processed real-time indoor, outdoor and sanitary sewer air samples and provided that information to state and local health authorities to make decisions about when residents could safely return.

The TAGA conducted air monitoring at 25 homes, a recreation center, two schools and 59 locations in the sanitary sewer system, generating 85,000 data points. It was also used to sample air at 35 manholes and 85 residences. Samples were analyzed for three components of gasoline: benzene, toluene and xylene.

EPA will continue an oversight role in the response, but it is handing off some of the air sampling operations to Ford. Ford's contractors will use the same Tedlar sample bags as used by the TAGA lab, and will deliver them to an approved Quality Assurance Assessment Program Laboratory for analysis.


Sept. 22

EPA sampled two additional homes today using the EPA-ERT Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory. The agency did not receive odor complaints from the public.

Additional resources associated with this response:

  • A new Community Resource and Information Guide is now available in the Documents section of this website.

Sept. 21

EPA continues to sample residences. To date, EPA and Ford have sampled 30 homes and scheduled nine additional homes for sampling using the EPA-ERT Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory, 51st Civil Support Team (CST) HAPSITE and the Ford contract laboratory. The agency did not receive odor complaints today from the public.


Sept. 20

Tonight, Wayne County Local Health Department, after consultation with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, notified Flat Rock Mayor Hammond that it is safe for the residents in Zone 2 investigative area to return to their homes. www.flatrockmi.org

To date, the Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory has completed analysis of 26 Tedlar bag samples collected from 11 residences. Sixteen residences were prescreened according to the Re-Occupation Plan. TAGA will continue to conduct air monitoring at prescreened residences and businesses during the following day operations. Three summa canisters were retrieved from one residential property and two summa canisters were deployed at one residential property. EPA responded to two odor complaints.  Air sampling showed readings below action levels. 

Additional resources associated with this response:  

  • Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has created a website with a Flat Rock Resident Public Health Survey seeking information about odors and health issues that residents may have experienced

Sept. 19

EPA continues indoor air sampling. As of today, EPA has sampled 31 homes and businesses and five schools in Flat Rock, using the Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory.


Sept. 18

EPA continues indoor air sampling. As of today, 27 homes and businesses and five schools in Flat Rock were sampled using the Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory. EPA responded to one odor complaint.  Air sampling showed readings below action levels. 

EPA has completed the sampling of the sanitary sewers throughout zones 1 and 2, sampling a total of 94 sanitary sewer locations and continues daily monitoring. 

Additional resources associated with this response: 


Sept. 17

As of today, EPA has now performed indoor air sampling at 26 homes and businesses in Flat Rock, using the Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory.

EPA conducted air sampling in a total of 94 sanitary sewer locations and has completed the monitoring and sampling the sanitary sewers throughout zones 1 and 2.

Since the beginning of this response, EPA has taken more than 5,000 measurements of air quality.

We are also collecting indoor air samples in one home with a Summa canister. This video, "Vapor Intrusion Sampling", shows how EPA uses Summa canisters to collect indoor air samples.

EPA is currently working with the homes that were evacuated due to the presence of benzene above screening levels or odors reported prior to the voluntary evacuation.

Additional resources associated with this response:


Sept. 16

Today, EPA posted an interactive StoryMap that visually represents our on-the-ground air monitoring and air sampling with corresponding data.

The City of Flat Rock held an outdoor open house and town hall meeting at the Flat Rock Community Fields. Residents met with representatives from EPA, EGLE, MDHHS, WCHD and Ford Motor Company for one-on-one discussions during the open house and later listened to presentations with a question-and-answer session.


Sept. 15

This is a joint update from both EGLE and EPA:

Extensive jetting and flushing of the sanitary sewers have occurred in residential areas affected by the gasoline leak in Flat Rock. Readings and screenings consistently show the released gasoline in the sewer has been cleared. Although sewers typically have fluctuations in small amounts of gasses due to permitted discharges, monitoring and screening of the sanitary sewers have shown the gasoline has been cleared and the sewer system is considered back to normal operating conditions.

As of today, EPA has now performed indoor air sampling at 22 homes in Flat Rock, using the Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory. EPA has conducted air sampling in a total of 78 sanitary sewer locations. Since the beginning of this response, EPA has taken more than 4,827 measurements of air quality. EPA continues to share results of this sampling on the EPA Air Sampling Interactive Map.

After reviewing EPA air monitoring data, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has informed the Wayne County Health Department that gasoline vapors at the River Heights Academy are not expected to harm human health due to indoor air contaminant levels below health concern levels. Wayne County notified the school, which re-opened today.

EPA oversaw a sewer smoke test conducted by the city of Flat Rock to determine the path of migration from the affected sewer system. 


Sept. 14

Today, EPA performed indoor air sampling at 4 homes in Flat Rock, using the Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory. EPA also conducted air sampling in 7 sewer locations.

EPA coordinated the arrival of the Michigan 51st Civil Support Team, a Michigan State Guard unit, and integration into operations to provide air sampling support for both sewers and homes.

EPA continues to update the EPA Air Sampling Interactive Map.


Sept. 13

HTML img Tag Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer mobile laboratory. Today, EPA performed indoor air testing at 8 homes in Flat Rock, using the Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory.

EPA continues to update the EPA Air Sampling Interactive Map. Unified Command requested assistance from the 51st WMD Civil Support Team, a Michigan State Guard unit, to support screening operations.

The CST is deploying HAPSITE air monitoring instruments, which provides additional sampling and analysis capacity, per the Re-Occupancy Plan.


Sept. 12

Today, EPA performed screening at 2 homes in Flat Rock, using the Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory.

EPA also screened at the Barnes Elementary School and the Simpson Middle School. EPA will keep updating the EPA Air Sampling Interactive Map after receipt of any new data.

EPA has also added the following three items to the document section of this website, which have been developed in conjunction with local, county and state agencies:


Sept. 11

In order to share EPA’s air sampling data with the public, EPA has posted an interactive air sampling map for the Flat Rock, Michigan emergency response. The map shows benzene sampling data for the sewer system and indoor air in residential areas. To protect the privacy of residents, indoor sampling results are grouped by block. The map is available at the following link:

EPA Air Sampling Interactive Map

Today, the Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory will screen up to 5 homes and the Barnes Elementary School. EPA will update the interactive map after receipt of the new data.


Sept. 10

EPA continues to support local and state investigation efforts. 

Yesterday, EPA’s Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer, or TAGA, conducted air monitoring at 22 sewer locations within Zone 2. Today, EPA conducted air monitoring at 1 residence and 9 sewer locations within Zone 1 and 2. This weekend, EPA scientists will continue to conduct air sampling across Flat Rock using the TAGA mobile laboratory to collect air samples in schools, local residences and the sanitary sewer system.

EPA has posted a fact sheet with information and definitions about air monitoring, air monitoring equipment used at the site and the chemicals EPA is testing for. 


Sept. 9

EPA continues to conduct air sampling at public manholes using the Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory. On September 8, EPA began air screening at the Recreation Center and several sanitary sewer locations in Zone 2.

EPA has established 5 circuits with 30 manholes to monitor the sanitary sewer system

Since August 31, EPA has conducted sampling with handheld air monitoring equipment at 68 homes, 5 schools, several businesses. TAGA air sampling at homes will tentatively begin this weekend. 

EPA performs ambient air monitoring around the schools three times per day.  Results from EPA’s air monitoring at local schools are:

  • River Heights Academy: initial results were above screening levels. EPA collected indoor air samples and sent them to a laboratory and is waiting for air sample results and validation.

  • EPA has screened inside, at the football game, in the sewer outside the schools and as part of an air monitoring circuit around the schools and did not have any elevated readings at:
    • Simpson Middle School
    • John M Barnes Elementary School
    • Flat Rock High School
    • Bobcean Elementary School

Since the beginning of this response, EPA has taken more than 4,300 measurements of air quality.

Wastewater samples were collected from 5 locations in the sanitary sewer system and at 2 surface water locations. Sheen samples were collected from the sanitary sewer system. Results showed samples were consistent with gasoline. Initially, we were trying to identify the source.  The surface water samples did not exhibit characteristics of petroleum.

For additional updates, please visit the city’s website.


Sept. 8

 Today, EPA scientists began using the Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer in Flat Rock. The TAGA is a self-contained mobile laboratory that takes real-time samples of indoor and outdoor air or emissions.

The TAGA will use a specialized hose connected to mass spectrometers to collect samples of air from sewers, buildings and homes across Flat Rock. These samples will be analyzed for three components of gasoline: benzene, toluene and xylene.

EPA will share results with health agencies who will use the data to determine the evacuations and re-occupancy. Beginning later this week, EPA will attempt to post updated data from the TAGA to the website once a day.


Sept. 3

After receiving sample results back from our lab, EPA has determined that the chemical odor is consistent with gasoline. EPA continues to assist local and state responders to identify the source of the odor found in homes and in the sanitary sewer. Currently, seven residential homes, one business and one school have been evacuated due to benzene readings above the 6 parts per billion screening levels set by the federal Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Wayne County Health Department. No students were in the school at the time of the odor complaint. EPA will continue to conduct air sampling at any homes or businesses that report an odor at their location.

The city has provided this information to residents:

  • If you smell an odor, contact the city’s non-emergency line at 734-782-2496 and dial zero “0”. If you are symptomatic or feel ill, leave your residence or business immediately, get to fresh air and call 911.
  • For additional information or questions, email Mayor Mark Hammond at mayor@flatrockmi.org or leave a voice mail at 734-789-2324. Both email and phone are checked on a regular basis.

Sept. 2

On August 31, 2021,  assistance from EPA was requested to support the Flat Rock, MI Fire Department with an unknown chemical vapor impacting residences in the community. An unknown substance, presumed to be a volatile organic compound (VOC) was reported at numerous individual homes. EPA is providing technical assistance and investigating to determine the nature of the contaminant, the extent of contamination, and attempting to determine a source.

Public Participation Opportunities 

The hosted a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, Sept. 16. You can review EPA's presentation at the meeting.

 

Background

On Tuesday, August 31, the Flat Rock Fire Department requested air monitoring assistance from EPA in response to a potential gasoline spill into the Flat Rock sewer system. EPA mobilized to the site and began air sampling throughout the night. EPA is assisting the local and state responders to identify the source. All levels of government will continue to work together to continue the investigation efforts until a source is found.

Key Documents

Video

This video, "Vapor Intrusion Sampling", shows how EPA uses stainless-steel canisters (a.k.a. Summa canisters) to collect indoor air samples.