The boom was placed in the Canal Drain, near Clinton River Road in Clinton Township.

The boom was placed in the Canal Drain, near Clinton River Road in Clinton Township.

Photo provided by Macomb County Public Works

Clinton Township drain spill remains under watch

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published March 30, 2023


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — An early March chemical spill in Clinton Township’s Canal Road drain remains under daily watch by the Macomb County Public Works Office, according to a spokesperson for the agency.

Originally discovered by the Clinton Township Department of Public Works late on March 10, the Clinton Township Fire Department was the first to respond in order to stop the unidentified petroleum-like substance from spreading further through the drain into the Clinton River.

“Originally, we received a contact from one of our DPW reps on Friday afternoon, about 3 p.m., stating that there seemed to be some sheen or an issue on the river and were subsequently told that they think they found the source over on the street at Sandy Drive,” Clinton Township Fire Chief Tim Duncan said. “We had crews respond over there, take a look, throw down some protectant for that area, but by that time, some had leached into the waterway.”

The weekend was spent laying down booms to trap and absorb the spilled substance, monitoring the incident further and searching for the source of the problem.

Both the county and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy later responded. The investigation into the type and origin of the spill is ongoing, while the county has been monitoring the drain and overseeing the placement of booms by subcontractors.

“Any amount is too much,” Duncan said. “These are things that really shouldn’t be occurring, and … you hope that they’re not intentional, but in a lot of cases, they are. Accidents happen and that’s what we prepare for (to) take care of those types of things, but at the end of the day, when it’s investigated, you hope it was not an intentional act.”

The Macomb County Public Works Office does not believe the spill poses a risk for residents in Clinton Township or that it was able to reach the Clinton River.

“While we believe that the amount of the spill to be very small, we are treating this matter very seriously like we would any spill,” Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said in a statement on March 13. “I’d like to commend the Clinton Township DPW and Fire Department personnel for responding to this incident quickly to contain it and for following the joint communication protocols our office has in place with local fire departments so that we can act quickly, as well, when any hazardous material spills reach our drains.”

Anyone who spots suspected petroleum or other potential hazardous substances in a Macomb County drain is asked to call the Macomb County Public Works Office’s 24-hour toll free emergency hotline at (877) 679-4337.