Oil Spill In Shiawassee River

Posted at 11:16 AM, Nov 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-29 11:16:46-05

An oil spill in the Shiawassee River could have spread a lot further had it not been for a hunter who spotted it Thursday.

"He could very easily ignored it but he called in and did the right thing. Said this isn't right. Got the ball rolling. We have three sources here to minimize the damage" said Richard Warner, Director of the Shiawassee County Emergency Management.

Thursday morning a hunter saw oil flowing down a stream in Shiawassee County. The fire department and emergency management tried to control the spill but didn't have enough booms to contain it.

"We were exhausted in our resources locally so we stepped up and go to the state level." Warner said. "The state level feels they need to step up to the next level they make that phone call."

That call was made to the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, who came from Detroit to help prevent the oil from pouring into the river.

EPA On Scene Coordinator Jeff Lippert said the situation could have been a lot worse. "This absolutely would have gone out to the Shiawassee River and been a much bigger deal."

Lippert tells News Ten that while the oil is contained it will still do a lot of damage.

"You know not only for the wildlife that gets oiled but the banks the vegetation. This can linger on for you know months and months some times" said Lippert.

The EPA works in multiple steps in cleaning an oil spill and the first one is all about containment. What they're doing with booms now is keeping the oil in one central location then comes the cleaning process that can take time.

The EPA doesn't know where the oil came from and are currently investigating.