The oil spill that occurred in the Michigan River has been declared as the “largest oil spill in the history of the Midwest.” With more than 80,000 gallons of oil being released into a creek and making its way into the Kalamazoo River, a state of emergency was declared in southwest Michigan’s Kalamazoo County.
Morrow Lake a recreation spot between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo was also contaminated because of this oil spill. As with any oil spill birds and fishes have also been affected. The spill has also led to the evacuation of few homes and relocation of about two dozen people.
Jeff Spoelstra, coordinator for the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council, said that this disaster has further pushed back the effort that was being taken to cleanup the already polluted river. Crews were dispatched for oil spill cleanup by both Enbridge Energy Partners and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To limit the oil’s spread into the surrounding wetlands, skimmers and 28,000 feet of boom were also set up.
At the Ceresco Dam, downstream from the leak, workers used vacuum trucks to cleanup the oil spill from the water. When the air near the oil spill was tested, cancer-causing chemical benzene was found present. As it was only in trace levels, it was termed harmless to the residents. Groundwater testing was also proposed, to check if the oil might have seeped through.
People have been advised by the Michigan Department of Community Health to stay away from the river during the oil spill cleanup. Although oil spill containment has been done, it is expected to take months to completely clean up the oil spill. The oil spill has been contained, but for further cleanup of the remaining oil, the officials can give heed to the recommendation made by State of Louisiana to use Oil Gone Easy S-200 for effective oil spill cleanup.
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