Flat Rock chemical leak: Substance coming from underwater; source still undetermined

Officials have contained substance in section of Huron River

Officials use a boom in the Huron River to try to contain a chemical leak on Feb. 23, 2022, in Flat Rock. (WDIV)

FLAT ROCK, Mich. – Officials are still trying to determine the exact source of the chemical leak in the Huron River in Flat Rock, but they have learned that the substance is coming from underwater.

On Tuesday (Feb. 23), Flat Rock Mayor Mark Hammond said the chemical floats on top of water, has a blueish sheen, and smells like gasoline and kerosene.

“Right now, there’s no indication where it’s coming from,” Hammond said. “It could be coming underground. It could be coming from the runoff from the snowmelt. We really don’t know.”

On Wednesday morning, officials with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy said four booms were placed in the Huron River while a vacuum truck sucked the chemical out of the water.

The area affected area was believed to be about 300 feet by 200 feet in size, as of around noon Wednesday.

Officials said the leak is still active and they’re trying to determine where it’s coming from. They believe the origin is underwater.

A sample was taken Tuesday night and sent to the U.S. Coast Guard lab for testing. Two more samples were taken Wednesday. Officials are hoping to identify the chemical.

EGLE officials said the leak is contained.

“There’s no need for the public to panic,” Hammond said. “There’s no personnel health issues involved with this. This is extremely environmental, and we want to keep it that way.”

Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell said her office is monitoring the situation closely.


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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.