Clean-up, investigation of Flint River spill continues

Flint River
Flint River(WNEM)
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 2:54 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - Local, state and federal officials are continuing to clean up and investigate a hazardous material spill in the Flint River.

Officials with the city of Flint and Genesee County were notified of an oil-like substance in the Flint River on Wednesday, June 15.

The material has not been identified, but it has been described as a petroleum-based material. Multiple samples have been taken by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and Environmental Protection Agency for analysis.

The breach of this spill is under investigation. Teams are trying to find and stop the source of the spill, Genesee County Emergency Manager Coordinator and Sheriff Chris Swanson said.

Teams have collected three times more contaminated material on Friday compared to Thursday, which was estimated to be at least 1,600 gallons.

A representative from the Michigan Spill Response, Donald Simota, stated teams will soon have to ramp up operations to get ahead of the spill.

Swanson stated there are currently three operations underway including cleaning up and recovering from the spill, stopping the source, and the investigation of the incident.

Swanson and Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley stated there is no threat to residents’ drinking water.

The “no contact” order is still in place for the river. Residents should not fish, boat or swim in the Flint River from Stepping Stone Falls to the Genesee County Line.

EGLE is currently investigating the Lockhart Chemical Company, which produces metalworking fluid additives. The company is cooperating and has provided samples from its containments. Neeley issued a cease-and-desist order against Lockhart until officials learn more information.