Oil spill update: State of emergency declared as 800,000 gallons of leaked oil begins

ateate Acolyte
edited January 2011 in Spurious Generalities
Oil spill update: State of emergency declared as 800,000 gallons of leaked oil begins flowing through Kalamazoo County

AUGUSTA — Kalamazoo County officials declared a state of emergency Tuesday afternoon as more than 800,000 gallons of oil released into a creek began making its way downstream in the Kalamazoo River.

“I just came from Fort Custer and you can smell it now,” Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Pali Matyas said. “... It’s all rolling downhill and there are a lot of complications.”

Matyas said police, local fire departments and local hazardous-materials companies are working to set up booms to trap the crude oil but workers are not able to use their trucks to remove oil from the water because high water levels have made the areas inaccessible to the vehicles.

“We’re racing against time here too because the weather is supposed to get pretty bad tomorrow,” Matyas said.

County officials said they began an emergency response at about 6 p.m. Monday after news spread that a 30-inch oil pipeline in Marshall sprung a leak and released oil into the Talmadge Creek, which feeds into the Kalamazoo River. Houston-based Enbridge Energy Partners said the pipeline has been shut down but that did not happen before more than 800,000 gallons flowed into the creek.

Oil Spill Kalamazoo RIver gooseView full sizeThe Associated PressA Canada Goose covered in some oil walks near the Kalamazoo River in Battle Creek
Kalamazoo County officials said Tuesday that local health officials are monitoring the oil spill and advised residents to avoid all contact with water from the Kalamazoo River “until further notice,” according to a news release issued just after 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“All surface water activities, including swimming, wading, fishing and boating/canoeing/kayaking, should cease,” officials said in the news release. “Additionally, due to the fumes associated with a crude oil spill, people are warned to avoid (spending) time in the immediate area around the river. This order will remain in effect until further investigation indicates that risk has been minimized.”

Said Matyas: “We’re throwing everything we have at it.”


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