On July 25, 2010, approximately 840,000 gallons of crude oil leaked into the Talmadge Creek and Kalamazoo River watersheds. This oil leak was caused by an Enbridge Oil pipeline rupture. This created the largest ecological disaster in the history of the Midwest. The presence of oil caused, and continues to cause, concern regarding groundwater, surface water, air quality, soils and sediment, and direct contact.
Calhoun County Public Health Department officials were notified and began response immediately. To address ground and well water concerns, water quality monitoring began and will continue as long as necessary. The Health Department in collaboration with the Federal On-Scene Coordinator, EPA, state and federal partners, and Enbridge Oil continues air and water quality monitoring efforts. These efforts include sites in around Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River west to the Kalamazoo County line. Health Department and state officials also continue to closely monitor and address concerns and questions from residents living and working in and around the areas affected.
In 2010, CCPHD personnel provided over 3,500 direct hours of staff time in response to the incident. CCPHD staff were involved with air, water (both surface and groundwater), evacuation, re-entry, worker safety, and finally issues as they relate to long-term considerations and monitoring of the oil release within our environment and our community.
A special thanks to all of the staff at the CCPHD for their dedication and leadership with this incident. “I am extremely proud of how our department rose to the occasion to do our part to address this significant issue,” quoted James Rutherford, Health Officer. We are also very pleased with the Michigan Department of Community Health and the significant role they played throughout the entire process. We are more than pleased with their ability to take a leadership role as it relates to the oil spill.