FLINT, Mitch. (WNEM) – The clean-up of an unidentified substance that spilled into the Flint River continues.
Officials estimate that more than 1,000 gallons of oil-like material have been drained into the river.
“This is nothing to take lightly,” said Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson.
The oily material spread all the way to the town of Montrose about 20 miles away.
Restriction, cleaning and investigation come at a high cost.
“We are already seven figures. “When you talk about the expertise that stands here with us, the amount of equipment and the time, it’s a significant cost,” Swanson said.
Who pays the price depends on where the evidence leads investigators.
“As history shows, when guilt and responsibility are identified, there are consequences. We will find the source and those responsible, whether it is an accident or not, “Swanson said.
The source is currently unidentified.
Jill Greenberg, a spokesman for the State Department of the Environment, the Great Lakes and Energy, says the agency has an eye on business that it says has a history of violations.
EGLE is investigating the Lockhart Chemical Company in Flint.
Lockhart manufactures additives for metalworking fluids.
Greenberg said the company is over a sewer that drains liquids to an outflow that eventually spills into the river.
“EGLE and EPA took a number of samples from the Flint River and sent them to a characterization lab,” Swanson said.
Swanson said Lockhart was cooperating with investigators and provided samples from his airtight site.
These samples will be compared with samples taken from the river.
Although the results are forthcoming, Swanson said he was in talks with prosecutors.
Mayor Sheldon Neely said he had ordered a ceasefire and abstained from Lockhart.
“We will not endanger health and public safety because of business. If they don’t do good business in this community, they don’t deserve to do business. We will look at all levels of guilt and hold them accountable to our partners, “Neely said.
Swanson says he expects the test results to be received on Friday.
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