Coast Guard says oil spill from utility lines in Straits of Mackinac isolated

MACKINAW CITY, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard says a spill of mineral oil from utility lines near the Straits of Mackinac has been isolated and clean up is underway.

The leak was announced Tuesday.  The American Transmission Company took the cables out of service when the leak was discovered.  The cables carried electricity between the Upper and Lower Peninsula.

The Coast Guard says the Oil Spill Response Organization removed about 10 percent of the mineral oil from one of the utility lines Wednesday.  About 400 gallons remains in each utility line, but is not leaking.  Officials estimate that abut 600 gallons of the mineral oil leaked before the lines were secured.

The Coast Guard has deployed an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to the scene Wednesday and earlier in the week to search for an oil sheen or any signs of pollution and none was located.

The Coast Guard says that the threat to the public of the leak is low due to ice along the shoreline.  They also say the risk to fisheries and wildlife are low, but there is concern for waterfowl that may come in contact with the mineral oil floating on the water’s surface. Crews are working on ideas to keep the birds out of the area for now.


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