The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oil Spill in West Michigan Heading Toward Lake Michigan

The overpowering smell of oil on the river is a much stronger warning than the signs which are posted for miles along the Kalamazoo River. I stopped at three points along the river for maybe 15 minutes total, and came away with a fierce headache.

This river flows through the center of Battle Creek (where I live), then through the towns of Galesburg, Kalamazoo, Plainwell, and Allegan. Then, finally, between the cities of Douglas and Saugatuck before joining LAKE MICHIGAN. There are many wetlands along the way and the river harbors much wildlife. I've kayaked stretches of this river and have seen deer, turtles, blue heron, trout, and muskrat.

Estimates of the amount of oil have been raised to one million gallons. Why was the oil allowed to gush for hours before the flow in the pipeline was shut off? We're still waiting for an answer from Enbridge Energy.

The last photo here is of the Ceresco Dam in Marshall. The EPA is using a Coast Guard helicopter to survey the extent of the spill. This is just a mile or two from origin of the spill. The second photo shows how the crude oil is gathering in the vegetation.

Watch the video below for a closer look at the spill.


  1. Thanks for reporting the situation ... this oil is so much worst than the asphalt methane volcano in the gulf of Mexico... ITS CRUDE BLACK OIL!! Make us aware if it reaches the lakes

  2. As I watched this I was thinking that we have done this many times to our rivers--to our great cost--but that now we all can be witnesses in a way that we have not been historically. You performed a great service by making and posting this, Loreen. I hope you and others will continue to monitor the situation on the ground and report it in this way.