Submerged Oil Remains In Ceresco Dam After 2010 Spill - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Submerged Oil Remains In Ceresco Dam After 2010 Spill


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – More than two years after the massive Enbridge oil spill that leaked more than a million gallons of toxic tar sands oil into the Talmadge Creek and Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Michigan, experts say submerged oil still remains near the Ceresco Dam.

Stephen Hamilton, Michigan State University professor and president of the Kalamazoo River and Watershed Council, has been doing research on the spill since it happened in 2010. "There is still some submerged oil left in the river, and there may be some places that require some additional work," says Hamilton.

He says because the Ceresco Dam is one of those hotspots with submerged oil because it's an area where the water in the river slows down.

"[The oil] becomes visible when it's agitated. It's not like a layer or pool of oil like you might imagine. You can see it when it comes to the surface as a sheen," he says.

According to Hamilton, the most toxic properties of the oil are gone, so there are no major health concerns with the oil that remains. "The oil changes over time. It tends to actually lose its most toxic components, which evaporate off to the atmosphere over time," he says.

However, cleaning up the leftover oil is a challenge that could harm the environment even more. Hamilton says collecting the sheen is one way to get rid of the remaining oil. Another way is to remove the sediment, but that could be destructive to the ecosystem and wildlife that live in and near the river.

Enbridge officials said in September that the Kalamazoo River cleanup is mostly complete, and that they'll be monitoring the sheen from the oil in the water. Enbridge spokesman Jason Manshum said in a statement: "Enbridge has taken full responsibility for the accident since the beginning, pledging that we would address the impacts of the release on the natural environment and would address the financial and other needs of individuals and businesses in the community.

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with WLNS-TV. Reach out to her on Facebook, Twitter or email at

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