EGLE: Fuel oil leaked into Huron River in Flat Rock

A nearby metal company is currently working with the EPA and EGLE to handle the clean-up process

We now know the substance that leaked into the Huron River in Flat Rock. State environmental officials now say fuel oil leaked from a nearby underground tank. Victor Williams has a closer look at what happened and what's being done to get it cleaned up.

FLAT ROCK, Mich. – There has been a mystery for the residents living close to Huron River for weeks. But now we’re finally getting some answers to the questions that we have and who exactly may be responsible to begin with.

The substance that leaked in the Huron River has now been identified as fuel oil. A nearby metal company is currently working with the EPA and EGLE to handle the clean-up process.

Despite the news, some residents are still fed up.

“I’m not very happy about it, and I know a lot of the other residents aren’t happy about it as well,” said nearby resident Ronald Clark.

Clark just moved into his home off the Huron River about a year ago, and he’s just one of many residents displeased.

“I fish, and a lot of my other neighbors fish,” said Clark. “There’s regular boaters on this river.”

Read: Underground storage tank may be cause of Huron River chemical leak

The company apparently responsible, Flat Rock Metal Inc, says, “What we discovered was an underground fuel oil storage tank beneath the property where we have been located since the 1980s. It dates back far as 100 years, to when this was a factory-built, owned, and operated by Ford. We had no record of the tank, nor did the State of Michigan.”

“I think they need to correct the problem and do what they have to do on their end what’s necessary to fix the situation that occurred here,” Clark said.

Read: EPA, EGLE investigate Flat Rock chemical leak

At this point, no one from Ford could comment on the matter as investigative activities are slated to continue through the week. So far, EPA Coordinator Sean Kane says the metal company has been cooperating to fix the problem. Now, Kane says the task is to track that substance’s movement.

“A part of the investigative activities being conducted by Flat Rock Metals Inc is to try to identify preferential migration pathways; basically how the source got from point A to point B,” said Kane.

Crews are also monitoring the wildlife nearby to ensure they’re not in that water. We’re told the river should be back to normal soon.


About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.