GENESEE COUNTY—The Genesee County Health Department is warning residents to avoid contact with the Flint River while hazmat crews work to contain a hazardous material spill in the Flint area.
Yesterday morning at around 8:15 a.m., City of Flint and Genesee County officials were notified that an unidentified oil-like substance had leaked into the Flint River near I-475 and James P. Cole Boulevard.
Authorities said the spill is affecting about 10 miles of the Flint River from the City of Flint toward Flushing and Montrose and that the source has not yet been identified.
Testing to identify the substance has been conducted, but results are pending. Officials said that the quantity of the substance is unknown at this time but has extended with the water flow of the river.
Residents are advised to not have direct contact or participate in any swimming, water sports or fishing in the Flint River water from Stepping Stone Falls to Willard Road on the west side of the county until more information is available.
Genesee County Hazmat Team, the State of Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (ELGE), and the Flint and Clio Fire Departments and other partners are conducting a clean-up operation to ensure that proper steps are being taken to minimize the environmental impact.
Down river, the City of Flushing is also notifying residents about the spill. Flushing Mayor Joseph Karlichek issued the following statement on Wednesday:
“Earlier today, a large source of oil from an unknown source entered the storm water system in Flint and is traveling through Flushing and into Montrose,” he said. “The oil slick is of a considerable size and is being handled by area Fire Departments, including the Flushing Fire Department, as well as the Michigan State Police and Michigan EGLE and the US EPA. The extent of the contamination and damage to the environment is unknown at this time and is under investigation by state and federal agencies.”
Flint officials said that because the city’s drinking water supply is not from the Flint River, there is no danger to the drinking water supplied by the city.