Main breach identified in Flint River spill

Crews continue to clean, investigate Flint River following chemical spill
Crews continue to clean, investigate Flint River following chemical spill
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 2:27 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - The main breach of a spill in the Flint River has been identified.

The Lockhart Chemical Company facility identified the main breach in a storm sewer that resulted in the discharge, according to Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) spokesperson Jill Greenberg.

The company’s operations have been halted until a plan can be sent to EGLE that will ensure when production resumes, the company will not release material in the groundwater or to the Flint River, Greenberg said.

Lockhart submitted plans to EGLE and the city of Flint for bulkheading the portion of the storm sewer that runs under the facility and routing the existing storm sewer around the site. Those plans are being reviewed.

The unidentified substance material collected from the river is still undergoing testing.

As of last week, a whitish discharge was seen at the outfall. Samples were taken at the manhole upstream, downstream of Lockhart, and at the outfall for analysis, Greenberg said.

EGLE is awaiting the results of that analysis. The outfall is still being monitored every day with a vactor truck.

The Genesee County Health Department put a “no contact” order on the river. Residents should not fish, boat, or swim in the Flint River from Stepping Stone Falls to the Genesee County Line.

Genesee County Sheriff and Emergency Manager Chris Swanson, as well as Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley, have stated there is no threat to residents’ drinking water.

Lockhart is responsible for funding and completing the cleanup of the spill after EGLE confirmed the source of the spill came from their facility. The company agreed to take responsibility, EGLE stated.