Officials investigate Clinton Twp. oil spill

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Clinton Township – Clinton Township homeowners noticed a funny smell and an unusual sheen this week on the Teske Drain from an oil spill whose type, size and source remained uncertain Friday.

A water sample taken by Clinton Township resident Tom Tailford from the river in his backyard. The oil sheen had traveled down the Teske Drain approximately 1,000 feet north of 15 Mile Road.

Environmental Protection Agency employees spent much of Thursday at the site near Maybury Street, directing the cleanup.

Ryan Schwarb, senior environmental quality analyst at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, said the oil traveled down the Teske Drain about 1,000 feet north of 15 Mile.

Tom Tailford looks at the Clinton River in his backyard. He and Ingrid Horodko share a home in Clinton Township and the river was affected by an oil spill.

“Absorbent booms were placed by the Clinton Township Fire Department yesterday to contain the oil within the drain,” Schwarb said Friday.

An additional absorbent boom was placed as a precaution further downstream, where a sheen has not yet been observed, Schwarb said.

Macomb County Drain Commission staff also were on site and assisted with hiring a cleanup company to begin removing the oil collecting in the drain.

Schwarb said the City of Fraser Department of Public Works is reviewing its storm sewer system and is trying to track the discharge source.

Residents Tom Tailford and Ingrid Horodko notified emergency officials Wednesday night after they smelled oil. Tailford collected a sample and found it was nearly clear and not crude oil.

The EPA arrived in Clinton Township at 8 a.m. and left around 6 p.m. after the truck was full of oil. Photo Credit: Tom Tailford.

“I was working in the backyard cleaning up near the river when I smelled oil. I followed it up the river and soon enough, we called fire and police officials,” Tailford said. “I do have to commend the EPA for jumping on this as fast as they did.”

Residents along the Teske Drain should refrain from pumping surface water for lawn irrigation or other uses until the cleanup has been completed, officials said.

“People should know and (the dumpers) have to know they can’t just do this. It’s polluting and dumping,” Horodko said.

Cleanup crews are onsite and if any additional sheens are observed in the area, residents should contact the 24-hour Pollution Emergency Alert System at (800) 292-4706.

(313) 222-1855

Twitter: @SarahRahal_