Strange substance has residents mystified - WNEM TV 5

Strange substance has residents mystified

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Residents in a Mid-Michigan community are concerned after noticing a mystery substance spilling into a local river.

Now officials are trying to determine where the spill originated and what dangers it could pose to the environment. 

Kip Cronk is mystified about a big mess on the Sebewaing River in Sebewaing. Crews have been working to contain the slick floating through the Huron County town.

Cronk has been with the State Department of Environmental Quality for ten years. He tells me he's been on spills before, but this one is giving his crew fits.

"It was pretty impressive. The rainbow sheen was really thick, almost looked like ice, and it went five to six hundred feet upstream," says Cronk. "We're not sure with this one where it's coming from. A lot of times we can find a point source we know exactly where it came from, maybe a leaking barrel or a leaking gas tank. But with this one we haven't been able to find an exact source."

The DEQ spokesperson says the material in the waterway is a type of petroleum product. As to what kind of petroleum it is, that's a mystery.

Meanwhile, residents hope whatever is floating in the river is taken care of quickly. Residents are concerned about what affects this spill has on the tourism season.

Jeff Sigmund is the former president of the chamber of commerce. He tells TV5 fishing is a big money maker for the local economy. That's why Sigmund is glad that the sheen has been contained. The DEQ tells TV5 they're hoping have everything cleared in a couple of weeks.

"We invite people to fish in our river here and get perch and I'm sure that could affect the spawning of the perch," says Sigmund. "I'll definitely sleep better knowing that they've got it taken care of and hopefully they find the origin of what happened or whatever."

Getting back to Cronk, he asking everyone to stay out of the way so clean up crews can do their job.

The DEQ says it could take up to a week for to identify the substance.

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