Most of Kalamazoo River open following 2010 oil spill

Most of the portion of the Kalamazoo River closed after an oil spill almost two years ago has been reopened to recreation, according to officials working on the cleanup.

Thursday’s announcement notes that an approximately 1,000-foot portion of the river known as the Morrow Lake delta remains closed and that boaters would need to pull their watercraft out of the river to access the river impoundment known as Morrow Lake, which is downstream. Other sections of the river also are restricted because of the ongoing cleanup, but boaters would be able to travel around those areas.

The closed areas are designated by buoys, which residents are asked to steer clear of, according to a press release from various local, state and federal agencies.

However, the bulk of the 35 miles of river that were closed after the spill of what is known as tar sands oil or diluted bitumen have reopened.

The EPA notes that more than 1.1 million gallons of oil have been collected from the area where an Enbridge Energy pipeline ruptured near Marshall in July 2010. The company estimated the size of the spill at more than 800,000 gallons of oil. The investigation into the cause has not yet been completed.

Despite the river opening, an unknown amount of oil from the spill remains submerged in the river, and sheen, a filmy substance floating on the water, can be seen on the river. The sheen could be from the Enbridge oil, parking lot runoff or from motorboats, or it could occur naturally as vegetation decomposes, according to the press release.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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