State: Chemical company likely source of Flint River spill

State: Chemical company likely source of Flint River spill
June 17, 2022 The Associated Press

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Authorities focused on a chemical company Thursday as the likely source of a spill that has left a dark oily sheen for miles on the Flint River.

Lockhart Chemical in Flint was cooperating with state regulators and removing material from underground storage areas, said Jill Greenberg, spokeswoman at the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

The spill, which started Wednesday, was coming from a storm sewer that discharges into the Flint River, she said.

“The leak is ongoing. We’re still in emergency response mode,” Greenberg said. “Right now, our focus is on stopping the leak and protecting the Flint River.”

Samples will be sent to labs for analysis. Messages seeking comment were left for Lockhart Chemical, which makes coatings, metalworking additives, hydraulic fluids and lubricants.

The Genesee County health department told people to avoid contact with the river.

Officials said Flint’s drinking water was not threatened. Flint used the river for drinking water in 2014-15 before lead contamination caused the city to return to Lake Huron water provided by a regional supplier.

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Several thousands of gallons of oily material in Flint River

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Featured image: City, Genesee County and state of Michigan agencies are responding to a significant oil spill in the Flint River. Officials for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy said the spill, estimated at several thousand gallons, was reported to a state hotline at 8:15 a.m. Hugh McDiarmid, an EGLE spokesman, said state environmental officials and local emergency responders are in the area of the spill, James P. Cole Boulevard and I-475, and have begun to deploy a boom across the river in an effort to absorb the material. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)


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