Crews Working To Clean Up Oil Spill In Manistee County

An oil leak has caused a mess in Manistee County.

We’ve been trying to get the Department of Environmental Quality to tell us more about this spill all month.

Tuesday, they say the spill was reported by Merit Energy Company at the end of December.

Merit Energy told the DEQ they noticed it when one of their oil flow lines underneath Eight mile road, just outside of Onekama, had less production and was leaking.

We were on scene where the spill happened. You will notice crews are digging it up and if you look down you’ll notice they have a lot of work to do.

“They are pumping out some of the oily water and then they are excavating out the superficial impacts and they will be obligated to do long term follow up of any residual ground water contamination,” says Bob Versical, DEQ Cadillac.

The DEQ tells us the roughly 50 barrels of oil covers a half acre of land and there are some wetlands that are affected.

“They are going to restore that wetland to preexisting conditions, that is part of it, and reestablish wetland vegetation and insure that no invasive species are introduced,” says Versical.

The DEQ says no homes are in trouble and there’s no threat to drinking water.

However, community members are upset they weren’t told about the spill.

“With the swamp lands being so close and it just it being “hush hush” is disturbing. All of our deer, everything, we thrive on hunting, we thrive on all of our ducks and fish. It’s not in a lake, but you never know, it might seep into the swamps and the swamp land and I’m pretty sure it should be protected,” says Kellie Hoffman, lives near the spill.

The DEQ says spills like these are common and Merit has followed protocol in handling the situation.

9&10 News has reached out to Merit and they have not responded.

“I hope we hear more about it, if we hear any distraction that’s going on there, or if any locals can help clean it up, anything we can do to try and preserve what’s left there,” says Hoffman.

The DEQ tells us the wetland restoration will take months but it is under control.

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