People Living Near the Straits of Mackinac Express Concern Following Coolant Leak

“Anything like that that might harm the waters, the Great Lakes, would be devastating to us.”

Those who live near the Straits of Mackinac have major concerns after more than 600 gallons of coolant leaked from underwater utility cables.

The Coast Guard says the oil-based spill does not pose an immediate threat to human or fish health.

People we talked to say their biggest concern is with the unknown, like what caused this leak and is there a potential for future ones.

And although there’s not an immediate threat to the health of the water here, they wonder what could happen in the long run.

“Most people came here because of the natural beauty,” David Dwyer said.

For David, the Straits are his literal backyard.

“We knew there were electrical cables under there but we didn’t know they were protected by toxic oil insulation,” David said.

He says a lot of the problem is not knowing what lays under this pristine water.

“I know there are lots of pipelines some are decommissioned some are not and we need to know what’s under there because they pose a danger to the citizens,” he said.

A danger he says lies there due to oil being run through freshwater.

“We don’t want oil spills at all and we have to find ways to prevent them and the simplest way to prevent them is to get them out of there,” David explained.

Joann P. Leal’s  family has kept property on the straits for more than a century.

“We don’t know if it could be washing up on my beach or a neighbor’s beach or two miles down the road, we don’t know,” she said.

She was heartbroken to hear the news.

“I love it here, this is my home and I don’t want anything to happen to it,” Joann said.

“Our community and the state, the state, Lansing, they have to do something about this, they have to be more diligent about polluting that’s what this is, it’s polluting the lakes,” she said.

The community is saying it’s a time to be proactive to prevent something like this, or worse than this from happening again.

“I don’t know if there’s any reason to panic right at the moment but we just have to be careful and hope that it isn’t something worse that happens and  comes a long because the water is a livelihood,” Robert Heilman, Mackinaw City village president said.

The cause of the leak is still unknown and could be a while before it is determined.

As of right now the Coast Guard says they did not record any signs of pollution on the water’s surface.