A three-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River reopened for public use today after a damaged pipeline spilled approximately 800,000 gallons of oil into the river in July 2010. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has overseen clean-up efforts on the river for the past two years, gave the go-ahead only after extensive testing yielded no elevated levels of oil-related contamination to the area’s drinking water and wildlife populations since the spill.
Federal officials still do not know what cause the pipeline, operated by the Enbridge Oil Company, to leak. The EPA’s efforts over the past year have focused largely on removing submerged oil from a roughly 200 acres of river bottom, using boats and heavy equipment to jolt the oil to the surface. The Enbridge Oil Spill has been cited as one of Michigan’s worst environmental disasters.
There is no word yet on when more of the river will be open to the public.