Mystery of what caused Clinton River oil spill continues

Officials are urging people to stay out of the water as the Environmental Protection Agency tries to clean up an oil spill in the Clinton River.

Oil collection booms stretch across the river at Opdyke and Auburn roads. But at this point the EPA says their work is just about done.

"We haven't seen any more sheen coming down the river," said Jeffrey Lippert, of the EPA. "We're going to keep the booms in place there for another 24 to 48 hours just to make sure."

The epa says roughly 500 gallons of some type of oil spilled into the river on June 1, covering a five-mile stretch of water.

"At its longest, it was from downtown Pontiac to Shelby Township," said Lippert. 

"I saw the fire department and all the crews," said Ray Heath who lives near the river. "I was wondering what they were doing. They went down to the river. I didn't know what was going on."

Investigators are still looking into the source of the oil, which remains a mystery.

"We pulled manhole covers and looked in every catch basin from the area," Lippert said. "And we also took a boat up and down the Clinton River and looked for any possible source where the sheen was coming from and we weren't able to locate them."

According to environmental specialists, a single drop of oil and create a 3 feet by 3 feet sheen on the water. It is concerning for those who live along the river.

"It is," said one resident. "But that's why I drink bottled water."  

Heavy rains help dissipate the oil and now those booms in the water are staying clean. As long as they are in the river, the Oakland County Health Department is saying all types of kayaking and recreation should stay out.

As for what kind of oil these booms are designed to collect, that is going to take time to find out.  Samples have been collected and sent off for what's being called a fingerprint test.

But the results could take weeks.
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