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Posted on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Officials ask judge to shut down company that spilled 1,000 gallons of gasoline

By Tom Perkins


Ypsilanti Township will ask a judge to order Sloan Petroleum Transport to cease operations.

Tom Perkins | For

Ypsilanti Township will ask a Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge to order a company responsible for a major gasoline spill on July 3 to cease its operations.

A Sloan Petroleum Transport tanker collapsed and leaked 1,000 gallons of gasoline on one of its dirt lots, requiring a 14-hour Hazardous Material Team cleanup.


More than 1,000 gallons of gasoline were spilled July 3 in Ypsilanti Township when two tankers collapsed on each other.

Courtney Sacco |

But Sloan was storing the trailers at 3105 E. Michigan Ave. illegally, said Mike Radzik, director of the township’s office of community standards. Storage of tanker trucks hauling hazardous materials isn't allowed on the property, which is zoned B3 commercial/retail.

No site plans were ever submitted to the township, and Radzik said even if they had been, the plans would have been rejected.

"That particular use would never be approved under our zoning,” he said. “You can’t operate that kind of business there.”

Radzik said township officials walked the site with Ypsilanti Fire Marshal Vic Chevrette on Monday.

“It became clear the reason that spill occurred was because the tanker trucks were stored unsafely in a place that is one, not physically constructed to store such things, and two, not zoned to allow that to occur under any circumstances," he said.

On Tuesday morning, Ypsilanti Township’s staff received administrative approval to take immediate legal action against the business. Radzik said a request for an emergency restraining order that would prohibit the owner, Woody Sloan, from operating his petroleum transport business at that location will likely be filed in the coming days. Sloan could not be reached for comment.

“That way there are no doubts as to what can and cannot occur on the property now or in the future,” Radzik said. “That was a bad situation there.”

Adding to the danger of the spill was the threat of an explosion. The spill occurred on July 3 when fireworks were being shot off in neighboring residential zones. Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office deputies had to ask residents to stop shooting the fireworks because they could have easily set off a large explosion.

The accident occurred when heavy rain caused the ground underneath the tankers to become too soft to support the jack holding the front axle of the tankers. One tanker fell and knocked over a second tanker. That destroyed the plumbing system under the first, causing it to spill 1,000 of the 9,000 gallons of gasoline it contained. The second tank, which also contained 9,000 gallons of gasoline, was not punctured.

No one suffered any injuries.

Radzik said township records show Sloan was last approved several years ago to operate a concrete sealing company. When township building officials last visited the property, there were two small buildings and one commercial vehicle.

Officials also found other code violations of concern, including several large tanks partially built into the ground. Radzik said they don’t know what is in the tanks.

“We’re working with the property owner. We have to bring the property in to compliance one way or another,” he said. “We’re still in the early stages of this thing, but I’d like to get some kind of a court order in place to prevent another accident of this nature.”

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Contact the news desk at



Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

Great to see Woody Sloan respond and defend himself - thanks for taking the time to respond. Seems he was negligent in storing hazardous materials without proper approvals/engineering (that is his job), but then what are Ypsi officials for? Where the hell are these guys - Seems jobs and business are far more important to them than basic ecologic principles and protecting the community.

Woody Sloan

Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 9:44 p.m.

Colorado Sun, any suggestions?

Colorado Sun

Sun, Jul 14, 2013 : 4:41 a.m.

Contact the Washtenaw County Bar Assn. at (734)994-4912.

Woody Sloan

Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Furthermore, the Ann Arbor News did not try and contact me for this article. I am at the property daily and would have been happy to speak with them as long as my entire statement was published and not their edited version.

Woody Sloan

Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

All that is left along Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti Township are junkyards and car lots. I will be listing all my properties in Washtenaw County shortly. I am done with Ypsilanti Township and their officials.


Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

I feel EXACTLy the same way about ypsianti twp taxes. Citizens keep paying for officials and employees atop get pensions that should have been transferred to 401k's, etc years ago, like the rest of UM, SJMH, and citizens. Yet, long as the public keeps giving them mileage increases like the one coming up for vote in August, well they have no incentive to change. We are going to join Detroit if we don't do something.

Woody Sloan

Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

For your information, the fire department and township officials had visited the property in 2012 and performed an on-site investigation because they had found gasoline in their storm sewer. It was found that my property had no drainage accessing the sewer. It was then assumed that there had been a spill at another location in the township. I find it irresponsible of township officials to now place all the blame on me when they have had knowledge of all activities associated with my business for many years. As a property owner you expect the zoning to remain in effect as it was at the time of purchase, not to have rezoning occur and then find out you are not incompliance. This is not the only property that I have had this happen with. Another example is the property that I owned at the corner of Huron River Drive and Whittaker Road. Prior to my purchase I contacted the Township and was told that I would be allowed to build a gas station at the site. After I purchased the property I was told that it had been rezoned and a gas station would not be allowed. This has happened to many other property owners in Ypsilanti Township. This can be confirmed simply by driving along Michigan Avenue and seeing all the properties that have been either torn down or been ordered to vacate ie. the bowling alley, Sesi Lincoln Mercury, 2 mobile home parks and many others along Michigan Ave . I know this might not seem like a concern for some residents but, in fact, it does impact you as well. The township is losing jobs and residents. This has been an ongoing problem for many business owners and residents due to township officials. Someone needs to step forward and address this problem. The current administration for Ypsilanti Township needs to be removed. I have tried to comply with the township's ordinances but it is impossible to deal with these politicians.

Colorado Sun

Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 7:40 p.m.

Woody, better get yourself a good and well-connected attorney to represent you. There have been reports of an "insider network" that appears to possibly have influence with the court. Remember the Hoey hay market case?

Woody Sloan

Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

An environmental engineer has visited the site since the July 3rd accident. According to their knowledge the estimated soil removal will be approximately 15 yards. This soil will be removed and sent to a environmental haz mat dump. The estimated cost of cleanup is approximately $20,000.00 to $30,000.00. The company insurance will cover all costs related the cleanup of the property. The tax payers WILL NOT pay any costs associated with the accident including all costs for the township employees. I have received a bill from the Ypsilanti Township for all services rendered. According to public records, Ypsilanti Township has one of the highest tax rates in Michigan. Yet, I am still responsible for all public services along with all other Ypsilanti Township residents. Where are our tax dollars being spent? This township has jumped on the bandwagon for political gain. The township has been aware that I have been operating this business for approximately 10 years. The fire depart

Woody Sloan

Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

For the record, I did make a mistake. I am responding to all your negative comments on the Ann Arbor News' article. This is for all of the readers who do not understand environmental issues. When I purchase this property the land had already been contaminated by diesel fuel. This can be confirmed by the State of Michigan. The property had been utilized as a storage facility and gasoline outlet. The previous owner of the property was Fiester Oil Company. The State of Michigan obtained ownership of the property and proceeded to perform an environmental cleanup. During the state's cleanup process it was discovered that the water table had been contaminated and therefore, was unable to be cleaned up. This said, when I purchased the property a baseline assessment evaluation was required. This assessment indicates the amount of contamination of the soil. Therefore, according to the law I am not responsible for contamination that occurred prior to the purchase. Should there be another baseline assessment evaluation performed on the property I would only be required to cleanup the contamination that occurred after the purchase of said property. An environmental engineer has visited the sit


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 6:38 p.m.

Michelle, are you speaking for the entire ICMC? Woody thought he was cool with Stormy and everyone else. Not sure what your problem is?


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

Nicholas, do you know if the repair station is still in business? From what I understand the cleanup of the soil at the site involves only 2 truck loads of dirt going out. Only a small portion of the OWNER'S property. The spill DID NOT contaminate the property of anyone but the owner which he will be responsible to pay for along with any other costs associated with the accident.


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

How many times did officials drive by this property and do nothing?


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 5:34 p.m.

How many would you think since the business has been operating for many years? Where has all the concern been before NOW? Especially, since they state that had the documents been filed they would have been denied.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 11:38 p.m.

1000 gallons. Any estimates on how many gallons that repair station in Ypsi intentionally dumped into the sewer? If they did it for many years, as I recall they did, it could have been thousands of gallons. But because it went into storm drain, and into a stream instead of soil, it seems to be taken less seriously.

Basic Bob

Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 12:59 a.m.

That storm drain goes into Paint Creek, Stony Creek, and Lake Erie. I'd be less concerned about gasoline, which evaporates, than used motor oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and brake fluid.

Basic Bob

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

are there any places in michigan where it is illegal to shoot off fireworks because there might be fuel vapors present, like next door to a gas station? if not, we should close all the gas stations in ypsilanti township during periods that fireworks are legal, such as all day on the 4th of july. in fact we should outlaw cars in case someone discharges a weapon into one. it could happen.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

Exactly. There are many more issues they and residents should concern themselves with. Crime and education for starters. The schools are one of the worst in the state. Take a look at their standardized scores. But hey what's one more empty building in Ypsilanti.


Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

Better an empty building than a contaminated site.


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 5:43 p.m.

The trailers were not being stored they were awaiting the return of a truck for delivery that day. Do you think any person would leave approximately $60,000.00 worth of fuel unattended in Ypsilanti? You can see that some people already believe they are untitiled to "free" gas. You can't leave an unlocked car overnight much less anything of value.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 11:36 p.m.

So are you suggesting they should ignore enforcing laws against major toxic spills until some arbitrary unrelated criteria are met? Who would determine the laws that could be ignored? How far would the "free for all" toxic dumping zone you seem to propose extend? Also, storing the trailers full of explosive gasoline was illegal. That means it was a crime.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

Good work, Ypsi township. Shut these criminally negligent offenders DOWN. We simply cannot allow this kind of behavior. p.s. you should punish them by giving away free fuel to township residents.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

That business has been there for 15 years, sounds like the township should not get in a panic NOW.....


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:29 p.m.

Don't worry that is what businesses have insurance for. The city will not be out a dollar for clean up. Maybe you should worry about where the officials have been for the time period since the business opened in Ypsilanti? Our tax dollars hard at work. Also, aren't fireworks that come off the ground illegal. Worry more about the drug house explosions and murders in Ypsilanti.


Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

Woody, is that you?


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Michelle, Woody Sloan has probably paid more taxes in Ypsilanti than YOU make in a year. It is none of your business whether he has insurance nor not. Furthermore, why don't you go and find out who owns the drug properties in question? Or would that take too much intelligence on your part.


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

Ignatz, when did you become owner of the property. If you knew what you were talking about the only area contaminated belonged to the owner NOT YOU.

Julie Baker

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

Rod: Just want to clarify that the business is located in Ypsilanti Township, not the city. Airborne fireworks actually became legal in Michigan last summer, although many municipalities have since crafted ordinances to limit their use:


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:33 p.m.

Yeah, why should we worry about polluting our living space? We can probably drink a couple of gallons of gas with little ill effect.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

Good job on the follow up story. Good work by the township to shut them down for non-compliance. Now fine them for the clean up.