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Source of spill still unclear as cleanup continues for pollution in Clinton River

Posted at 12:25 PM, Jan 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 23:27:19-05

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — Macomb County Public Works (MCPWO) investigators are continuing their search for the source of the spill that polluted the Clinton River.

This photo taken Saturday morning shows petroleum entering the Red Run Drain from the Schoenherr Relief Drain near 14 Mile and Schoenherr in Sterling Heights, officials say. The search for the source of a petroleum spill or leak into the Schoenherr Relief Drain in Warren was inconclusive Saturday.

On the morning of Jan. 3, a resident reported seeing a petroleum sheen in the Clinton River near Budd Park in Clinton Township.

Investigators from MCPWO and the city of Warren traced the source of the sheen to the Schoenherr Relief Drain in Warren, but were unable to pinpoint the exact source. Investigators say this suggests the spill ended before they were able to find the source.

It is believed between 75 and 100 gallons of petroleum product entered the drain, officials say. Containment booms are in place where the drain – a large underground pipe that travels south to north under Schoenherr Road in Warren – empties into the Red Run Drain, immediately north of 14 Mile Road in Sterling Heights.

The Red Run enters the Clinton River near Freedom Hill County Park, also in Sterling Heights.

Investigators say they made several manned entries into the underground drain in Warren on Saturday and will continue to investigate in the hopes of finding the source. Absorbent booms, to collect the petroleum, will remain in place until the water runs clear of any petroleum.

"This incident shows how all of our storm water drains are part of one larger system. Here's a spill that happened in Warren and was seen in the river some 5 or 10 miles away on the way out to Lake St. Clair. We appreciate the responsible citizens who alert us to these incidents. We continue to be vigilant and make inspections of our drains, but we also rely on our good neighbors for assistance in sounding the alarm when there is a problem," said Commissioner Candice S. Miller. "I also appreciate the work of the staffs at Clinton Township, Warren and Sterling Heights, who assisted with this response."
"And make no mistake, if we do find the responsible party for this spill, we will be seeking to recoup the costs and take other actions as appropriate," she said.

Cleanup efforts by the Macomb County Public Works Office continue.

If you spot any pollution in your neighborhood, call the MCPWO 24-hour pollution notification number at (877) 679-4337.