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Sections of the Kalamazoo River closed to finish oil cleanup

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio

It’s been nearly four years since the Enbridge Energy oil spill. Enbridge has already recovered more than a million gallons of heavy tar sands oil from the Kalamazoo River. But federal regulators have ordered the company to clean up another 180,000 gallons that’s mixed in with sediment on the river bottom.

Now that spring is here, work is underway again.

Enbridge spokeswoman Jennifer Smith says dredge work is nearly finished on a section of river near Battle Creek. Workers will remove Ceresco Dam closer to Marshall this summer.

But most of the dredge work that’s left is in Morrow Lake. It’s a section of the river that slows down and widens into a lake in Comstock Township, just east of Kalamazoo.

“Right now in that area you will see some activities of setting up the dredge pad and then also we have started our baseline air monitoring,” Smith said.

So far, air quality hasn’t been a problem in the other two locations Enbridge has dredged.

People who live around Morrow Lake and those who like boating in the area will notice parts of the river are already closed.

“They’re closed just as a precaution. There are no public health concerns. But there will be the presence of large machinery and equipment that people will see out there,” Smith said.

Smith says the actual dredge work will begin in Morrow Lake in a couple of weeks. It’ll take until mid to late summer to finish.

Once all that work is done, it’s expected that federal regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency will be satisfied with the cleanup. Only when that happens, will the responsibility for the remaining restoration work will be handed over to the state of Michigan.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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