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Crews ramping up cleanup efforts in Kalamazoo River near Marshall

State of Michigan
Last summer an oil sheen could be seen along the Kalamazoo River. Now crews are working to clean up the oil that sunk to the bottom.

Cleanup crews are collecting oil that remains at the bottom of the Kalamazoo River this week.

It’s been nearly a year since more than 840,000 gallons of heavy crude oil leaked from a broken pipeline near Marshall. More than 90% of the oil has been cleaned up already.

Becky Haase is a spokesperson for Enbridge Energy, the company that owns the pipeline.

“Our activities are definitely ramping up and folks should not be alarmed if they see more people in the boats and more boom in the water and kind of a return to what it looked like summer with all of the workers.”

She says crews are stirring up the river bottom to release the heavy oil that’s settled there.

“The oil is attached to the sediment so as agitation releases the oil where it floats up to the top where other crews are able to absorb it.”

This week about 220 people are out on the river doing the clean-up work. Haase says she expects several hundred more will be on hand in the coming weeks.

Haase says it’s hard to say when the cleanup will finish. She says the company expects to monitor the site for many years after the cleanup is complete.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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