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Flint River spill may be linked to local chemical company

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
“If they don’t do good business in this community, they don’t deserve to do business," said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley.

Containment and cleanup efforts of an oily spill in the Flint River this week have already cost more than a million dollars.

Crews have recovered more than 1,600 gallons of the material discovered this week, and the work goes on.

An oily sheen was reported on the river just north of downtown Flint on Wednesday. Absorbent booms were put in place to contain the unidentified substance.

Investigators say Lockhart Chemical is the likely source of the spill.

The company produces rust prevention additives.

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson says the spill has been traced to a pipe that runs beneath the facility.

“From the clean source to the end of the pipe, there’s some type of breach in there,” said Swanson. “Again, we’re talking decades of operations that have been on that particular site.”

The company is cooperating with the investigation, but has not accepted responsibility for the spill.

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley says if the company is the source, it will be held responsible.

“We are not going to put health and public safety in harm’s way because of a business,” said Neeley. “If they don’t do good business in this community, they don’t deserve to do business.”

A state Environmental agency spokeswoman says Lockhart has a history of violations at its Flint location.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.