Police searching for driver who dumped plant-based oil throughout West Bloomfield neighborhood

Posted at 6:27 PM, May 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-07 18:27:17-04

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — Police in West Bloomfield are investigating after they say a driver illegally dumped an oily substance all throughout a neighborhood. 

Police say just before 11 p.m. on Monday, they were alerted by neighbors near Middlebelt Road and Square Lake Road of someone in a box truck dumping a mystery oily substance all over several neighborhood streets. The oil left trails on Pine Ridge Road, St. Joseph Street and a few other residential streets.

After working for an airline for years, Sharon Schultz says alarm bells were sounding off for her when she saw hazmat vehicles outside of her home on Tuesday.

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Sharon Schultz lives near the West Bloomfield neighborhood where a driver is accused of illegally dumping oil.

"At 12 o'clock, I hear an odd sound in the neighborhood. So, I get up to go to the kitchen window and there’s this big white truck and it sounded tinny. And at first, I thought it might be a fire truck, however, it was white with red letters," Schultz explained. "My top concern is health, wellness and safety, and we don’t have this happen in the neighborhood. So obviously in my mind, I watch all this stuff on TV, it was not a mistake. They knew what they were doing, they knew where they were going to go. There seems to be a trail through the neighborhood of where it started and ended."

Police say they too believe the individual intentionally dumped the liquid in the neighborhood.

After consulting the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and running several tests, investigators determined the illegally dumped liquid was a plant-based oil, possibly vegetable oil.

Crews spent Tuesday afternoon applying an oil absorbent on top of the oil dump.

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Craig Bryson with the Oakland County Road Commission says the West Bloomfield oil dump is likely vegetable oil.

"Environmental concern was the biggest concern. The environmental contamination, had it been a different material and it had been more widespread, could've been very serious. This fortunately turned out to be it’s not getting into the waterway, it’s not going into the wet land and we’re containing it. It’ll be absorbed by the ground, it’ll break down in the natural elements," Craig Bryson with the Road Commission for Oakland County explained.

Police are still working to catch the illegal dumpers. Anyone with information should reach out to the West Bloomfield Police Department at 248-975-9200.

The road commission predicts the neighborhood will be clear for travel by the end of the day Tuesday.