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Oil Spill Slop to be Stored Near the South Side

By JoshMogerman on Aug 15, 2010 6:08PM

Kalamazoo River oil spill sign [photo by Sierra Club]
As the EPA response to the mess from an oil spill that dumped as much as a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River shifts from crisis to clean up mode, concerns remain here and in Michigan. The threat to Lake Michigan seems to have been contained, but some are registering surprise to the delivery of toxic materials from the cleanup in Chicagoland, while one prominent politician complains that a larger threat to the Great Lakes remains:

“There is great deal of evidence indicating problems with the Line 6B other than where the rupture occurred,” [U.S. Rep. Candice] Miller said in a statement. “While we were fortunate the spill of July 26th did not reach the Great Lakes, we would likely not be so fortunate should the pipeline rupture in sensitive areas near Lake St. Clair or even under the St. Clair River which provides the drinking water for millions of our citizens.” She called on the federal agency that regulates oil pipelines to immediately inspect the entire 6B pipeline.

Despite wishful thinking in Detroit, Lake St. Clair isn’t considered a Great Lake by anyone outside of Michigan, but it is an important part of the ecosystem (it connects to both Lake Huron and Lake Erie).

Closer to home, tanker trucks have been quietly bringing oil-contaminated water from the spill site to Northwest Indiana, where a plan is not yet in place for its disposal. 1.4 million gallons of it will eventually be brought to Enbridge’s tank farm in Griffith, IN. The site, not far from BP’s refinery in Whiting, is the beginning of the damaged pipeline and source of the oil spilled in Michigan. County officials have been assured that the water will not be disposed of there, but little else has been revealed of the toxic water’s fate on the edge of Chicago.