No-contact order remains in place for Flint River as chemical removal continues

Flint, MI – Genesee County Sheriff and Emergency Management Coordinator Chris Swanson says we are continuing through the June 16/Father’s Day weekend a no contact order is still in effect for the Flint River.

Swanson said in a June 18 Facebook Live broadcast that investigators were still working to determine the composition of the substance that has covered the river since Wednesday, June 15.

It was determined by state environmental regulators the following day, June 16, that Lockhart Chemical, a maker of metalworking fluids and greases, was the source of the continued leak of petroleum-based materials into River.

Related: Likely source of Flint River chemical spill had no leak detection on concrete vaults

Swanson said the EPA used chemical fingerprinting to match chemicals to those coming from a housing container discharge pipe near the West Boulevard Drive side of Lockhart.

According to Swanson, there is no public health crisis or reported threat to drinking water; but a no-contact order for the river will remain in place as investigations continue.

Boons have been established as far along the river as Barber Park in Montrose, and further to where the river meets the Shiawassee River near Saginaw, but no cases of the substance have been reported on these sites.

Sheriff Swanson speaks during a press conference, at the Flint Fire Department – Station 5, discussing the Flint River chemical spill in Flint on Thursday, June 16, 2022. (Jenifer Veloso | MLive.com)Jenifer Veloso

So far, Young’s Environmental Cleanup has reported approximately 30,000 gallons of material mined from the area.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said no wildlife was reported to be affected by the spill other than two baby goslings.

Related: Stay off orders from Flint River Genesee County Health Officer following oil spill

Swanson said it has yet to be confirmed whether the birds’ deaths were related to the substance or their untrained handling by fast-acting bystanders.

He goes on to say the matter is now under control and the chemical has been saved to Vietnam Veterans Park, about 2.5 miles south of Lockhart, where it continues to be removed from the water.

Thousands of gallons of petroleum-based materials spilled into Flint River

City, Genesee County and Michigan State agencies are responding to a major oil spill in the Flint River. Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy officials said the spill, estimated at several thousand gallons, was reported to a state hotline at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, June 15. Hugh McDiarmid, a spokesman for EGLE, told state environmental officials and local emergency responders are in the area of ​​the spill — James P. Cole Boulevard and I-475 — and have began deploying a dam across the river in an effort to absorb the material. (Jake May | MLive.com)

Genesee County Board Chair Domonique Clemons said the river’s no-contact order will remain in effect throughout the county, but, through partnerships between the EPA, EGLE, the county emergency response team and bystanders who reported the problem; cleaning crews were able to work quickly and smoothly.

This order is expected to be lifted by the middle of next week.

If recovery efforts continue ahead of schedule, Swanson and Flint Fire Chief Raymond Barton said, cleanup efforts could be curtailed as early as Sunday, June 18.

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