oil spill booms Flint River outfall 001

This post will be updated as information is available. Last update 9/20/2022.

On June 15th, 2022, a fisherman alerted authorities to an oily substance contaminating the Flint River just north of Dort Hwy in the city of Flint. Local, state, and federal authorities responded, and testing tied the spill to Lockhart Chemical Co, located on James P Cole Blvd. To date, more than 20,000 gallons of waste has spilled into the Flint River.

The Lockhart property is drained through storm sewer outfall 001 into the Flint River. The spill was a mix of industrial chemical waste from an underground storage system that was not maintained, causing the chemicals to leach into the soil, and then into the storm drain system. Work is still underway to monitor and test the river, and to ensure no further materials enter the water. This process is ongoing and the information we receive changes regularly. As of the most recent EGLE citation sent to Lockhart on August 18th, Lockhart was still allowing discharge of petroleum products and white residuals into the groundwater and/or the Flint River, and had not voluntarily complied with EGLE’s previous orders to prevent further spills.

From the August 19th MLive article: “State records show that concerns about the property date back decades, including a report by the city more than 18 years ago that indicated groundwater contaminated with volatile organic compounds was infiltrating into a city sewer from the Lockhart property, located at 4302 James P. Cole Boulevard.”

Lockhart Chemical resumed operations at its facility with a modified cease and desist order and updated wastewater discharge permit from the City of Flint, including increased testing requirements. They are not, however, permitted by the state to discharge into the stormwater system, or use their underground waste storage system. EGLE found out Lockhart had in fact resumed using the underground storage system on September 12th.

The state Attorney General, in cooperation with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, delivered an order on September 19th to block Lockhart from using the deteriorated waste storage trench and tunnel system to prevent further discharges to the soil and river. According to MLive, this was the first such action by the state in more than 30 years. The order requires Lockhart to pump its waste into above ground storage tanks until it can be transported off site for disposal. Failure to comply can be met with fines of $25,000 per day.

FRWC and the Genesee County Health Department recommend avoiding eating any fish caught on the Flint River Downstream of Stepping Stone Falls.

At this time, FRWC does not have a full understanding of the impact of this spill on humans or wildlife. Our staff examined the river just after the official no-contact order was lifted, and saw continuing visual evidence of chemical contamination from Grand Traverse St to Mitson Blvd. Because of this, FRWC recommends the public AVOID contact with the Flint River downstream of Stepping Stone Falls in Genesee County, including through the city of Flint, Flushing, and Montrose. Do not kayak, fish, or play in this part of the river until further notice. Do not eat any fish caught on the Flint River downstream of Stepping Stone Falls.

FRWC is working with independent experts to evaluate the chemical testing results obtained from the state and assess our operations going forward. As of right now, all FRWC activities on the Flint River downstream of Stepping Stone Falls are suspended until further notice. FRWC is also working on an ongoing monitoring plan to continue testing the river for effects of the chemicals. We will update when we have more information.

Snapping Turtle on the Flint River 6-28-2022

Impacts on the Flint River Ecosystem

Look and you will find rich biodiversity along the Flint River. Many of these species help inform us that the Flint River supports a healthy ecosystem.

  • River otters in Lapeer County
  • Eagles, heron, and osprey all along the river, including in downtown Flint
  • Muskrat, beaver, turtle, and deer at every turn

Contamination like the Lockhart spill is a direct threat to the wildlife and people that rely on the river for home, food, and play. We are still unsure how this spill has or will affect wildlife. We reiterate – Please DO NOT eat fish caught in the Flint River downstream of Stepping Stone Falls until further notice.

We must work to ensure that our environmental laws are enforced. If you see something wrong with the river (or any body of water), say something immediately by calling the Pollution Environmental Alert System (PEAS) at 1-800-292-4706.

Media Coverage:

(oldest to newest)

10/6/2021 MLive: Past Lockhart Discharge

6/15/2022 MLive: Thousands of Gallons of Oil-based Material Spilled

6/16/2022 MLive: Lockhart Likely Source

6/16-7/6/2022 EPA Site Profile & Updates

6/17/2022 MLive: Search Continues for Location of Breach

6/18/2022 MLive: No Contact Order Remains in Place

6/24/2022 MLive: Promising Lead on Breach

6/27/2022 MLive: Health Order Narrowed

7/7/2022 WNEM 5: Main Breach Identified

7/8/2022 MLive: Chemical Spill Cancels Flotilla

7/28/2022 NBC 25: Lockhart Had Previous Violations

8/19/2022 MLive: Lockhart Cited Again, State Says Operations Have Not Improved

9/12/2022: Flint Beat: Clean Up, Investigation Efforts Ongoing

9/19/2022 ABC 12: State Takes Action After Lockhart Chemical Spill

9/19/2022: EGLE: Order to Lockhart Chemical


Saturday, August 6th, 2022, 1pm-5pm, on the grounds at Tenacity Brewing. On-water event is cancelled for 2022.

What: 2022 Flotilla Pirate Fest (on-land only)

Host: Flint River Corridor Alliance

Where: Grounds of Tenacity Brewing, 119 N. Grand Traverse St, Flint MI 48503

When: Saturday, August 6th, 1pm-5pm

Admission: $5 at the door – cash and card accepted

Parking: Available on-site at Tenacity Brewing – if this is full, there is ample street parking on Grand Traverse and Kearsley Streets.

Ahoy! Join the Flint River Corridor Alliance and Tenacity Brewing for Flotilla Pirate Fest – an on-land pirate-themed party for the entire family. Admission is $5 at the door (cash or credit).

Entertainment includes live music by Roy Ozier & Friends, and Fernando Silvario Solis y El Sueño, sprinklers and water toys, a photo booth, and a treasure hunt for kids. The event will culminate in a costume contest, so come dressed in your piratey best!

Merchandise, food, and beverages will be available for purchase, including custom Pirate Fest shirts (unisex tee & ladies’ cut tank) and stickers, tropical sno-balls, and popcorn, as well as Tenacity’s hand-crafted beverages and Vehicle City Tacos.

We couldn’t do any of this without the support of our loyal sponsors, with Pirate Fest being presented by Seadog Sponsors Kettering University and General Motors-NAETC. Buried Treasure sponsors include Mott Community College and Wade Trim. Jolly Roger sponsors include Gazall Lewis Architects and Stantec. Sea Chantey sponsors include The Walter, Rowe, United Way of Genesee County, Atkins-Fick, and Flint City T-Shirts.

Join us on Saturday, August 6th or walk the plank. Yo ho ho!



Reach out to organizer Sarah Scheitler, Corridor Alliance Manager, with questions: sscheitler@flintriver.org or 810-241-6966.

Seadog Sponsors:


Buried Treasure Sponsors:


Jolly Roger Sponsors:


Sea Chantey Sponsors:


Saturday, August 6th, 2022, 1pm-5pm, on the grounds at Tenacity Brewing. On-water event is cancelled for 2022.

Flint, Michigan

July 7th, 2022

Flint’s annual Flint River Flotilla is being replaced by an on-land Flotilla Pirate Fest at Tenacity Brewing on Saturday, August 6th, 2022 due to the unknown impacts of the chemical spill on the Flint River last month.

“We have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2022 on-the-water Flint River Flotilla in light of ongoing questions surrounding the Flint River chemical spill that began on June 15th. We simply do not have enough time to ensure our concerns about the impacts of the chemical spill are answered and to plan a safe and fun event for the Flint community,” said Sarah Scheitler, Corridor Alliance Manager for the Flint River Corridor Alliance.

The on-land Flotilla Pirate Fest will be a themed, family-friendly party open to the public with a $5 admission. There will be live entertainment, a costume contest, a treasure hunt for kids, sprinklers and water toys, food and beverages available for purchase, and more. The event is a fundraiser to support the work of the Flint River Corridor Alliance around the river system within the city of Flint. 

“We recognize the dedication of Flotilla supporters, volunteers, and staff, and we want to celebrate that. There will be no on-the-water event this year, but we hope this party will uplift our Flint River community and continue to spread the word about the importance of protecting the waters that belong to all of us,” expressed Corridor Alliance Chair Kathleen Gazall.

The Flint River Flotilla was founded by the Flint River Corridor Alliance in 2014 as a way to build community and fun around Flint River. The annual event has seen upwards of 300 people in tubes, canoes, and kayaks float down the Flint River in Flint from Tenacity Brewing to Mott Park Recreation. The Flint River Corridor Alliance states that they hope to return the event to the Flint River in 2023.

What: 2022 Flotilla Pirate Fest (on-land only)

Host: Flint River Corridor Alliance

Where: Grounds of Tenacity Brewing, 119 N. Grand Traverse St, Flint MI 48503

When: Saturday, August 6th, 1pm-5pm

Admission: $5 at the door – cash and card accepted

Are you ready to choose your own adventure on the Flint River Flotilla ’21 – Expedition on the Flint? Will you encounter river creatures, or find buried treasure? It’s up to you! The Flint River Flotilla returns for its 7th year on Sat., Aug. 7th, 2021, with launches from 10am – 2pm. Visit our event page to register, sign up to be a volunteer or sponsor, order merch, and get the full info!

Flint River Flotilla How-To

Ready, Set, Adventure!

1. Purchase tickets & pre-order your Flotilla gear here through Thursday, August 5th at 5pm. Day-of registration will begin no earlier than 12pm on Saturday, 8/7.

2a. Shuttling will be limited due to social distancing. Please drop your flotation devices, kayaks, canoes, life jackets, etc. and extra people at Tenacity Brewing (119 N. Grand Traverse) and then proceed with your vehicle to the parking area at Mott Park and hop on the shuttle back to the launch site.

2b. Park at Mott Park Rec Area near the Paddlers’ Landing – enter off Sunset Dr. just east of Ballenger Hwy (see map below).

3. Hop on the shuttle (courtesy of Mott Community College & MTA) to the registration and launch site at Tenacity Brewing, 119 Grand Traverse

The shuttle service begins at 9:00am and runs until 2pm. NO FLOATS ON THE BUS! All shuttle riders must wear a mask while on the bus and have a forehead temperature check. If this is a problem, please plan to find alternate transportation to Tenacity Brewing. There is no parking at Tenacity for Flotilla participants.

4. Check in at the registration table and get a hand stamp showing you have paid and completed your liability waiver. All participants must wear a life jacket. No alcohol or glass on the river.

5. Take a group photo at the photo station sponsored by General Motors & NAETC.

6. Enjoy your Expedition on the Flint!

7. Your adventure will end back at the Mott Park Rec Area and the Paddlers’ Landing, where you will receive your Flotilla ’21 sticker.

*  Event will occur rain or shine. Severe weather may delay start time. *If you don’t feel well, please stay home! 

Flint River Flotilla ’21 Shirt

The Flint River Flotilla ’21 shirt is available for pre-order here (thru 7/26) in 3 soft styles: unisex tee, ladies’ cut racerback tank, and unisex tank. Unisex 2021 tees and vintage 2019 and 2020 tees will also be available for purchase day-of at Flotilla registration.

Shirts are the following styles:

Unisex Tee – District DT6000 – cotton-poly – Dusty Peach – XS to 4XL

Ladies’ Cut Tank – District DM138L – cotton-poly – Dusty Peach – XS to 4XL (no Med.)

Unisex Tank – District DT5300 – cotton-poly – Heathered White – XS to 4XL

Sponsor logos on the back.




Fliric coloring page

Fliric is a bit shy, but she would like to introduce herself. She is a creature who lives in our beautiful Flint River. She’s spent most of her life quietly enjoying nature and swimming in the cool water, but she loves her home so much that she just had to start telling us about it. Because Fliric has never been in public before, she’s not quite sure what to wear. Can you help her pick out her colors? Fliric, like a lot of animals in colder climates, likes to have winter colors and summer colors. Use this coloring page to help her decide what they should be! The winners will get a fun prize!

Deadline: 8pm, Sunday, July 4th – email images to sscheitler@flintriver.org or drop off paper coloring sheets to 1300 Bluff Street, Flint, MI 48504.

The 2020 Flint River Flotilla is going VIRTUAL! (1980s virtual, that is). To ensure safety, this will not be our normal giant party, but you can make it your own by choosing your own location, time, and friends! Submit photos or video of your float to win rad prizes. And yes, you’ll still get your Flotilla sticker. 🤩

Dates: Saturday, August 1st – Sunday, August 16th, 2020 – On your own time!

Registration: Virtual at  https://corridoralliance.ticketspice.com/flint-river-flotilla-2020

Launch: Anywhere in the Flint River Watershed! Please wear your life jacket!

Registration includes: 

* Use of launch at Tenacity Brewing, 119 N. Grand Traverse, Flint, MI 48503, anytime during the Flotilla 2020 dates from 8am-8pm. No transportation is provided.
* Coveted Flint River Flotilla 2020 sticker!
* Entry to win awesome Flotilla prizes (with submission of a picture or video of your float)

The Flint River Flotilla returns in a modified format for its 6th year between August 1st and August 16th, 2020. The Corridor Alliance Chapter of the Flint River Watershed Coalition, in cooperation with Tenacity Brewing, is hosting a “virtual” float this year to ensure safety for participants and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Registration is $10 and includes access to the Tenacity Brewing kayak launch, as well as the coveted 2020 Flotilla sticker, and a chance to win great prizes!

2020 Theme: “The Virtual Adventure”

The 2020 Flint River Flotilla celebrates “the virtual adventure” with a 1980s virtual character theme. You are encouraged to channel your favorite virtual characters from the 80s for costume and boat decoration ideas. Submit photos or videos of your float to the 2020 Flotilla facebook event (or email to sscheitler@flintriver.org) to be entered to win exciting prizes, and awards for the best costume and boat decoration.


“The Flint River Flotilla has amazing die-hard fans. We knew we wanted to offer something for you during this year of cancellations,” said Sarah Scheitler, Corridor Alliance Manager. “Kayaking and outdoor recreation is healthy and encouraged during this pandemic, but large groups are risky, so we decided on a modified Flotilla experience to offer the best of both worlds through an on-your-own themed float.”

The Flint River Flotilla is an annual fundraiser for the Corridor Alliance and its projects around the river system in the city of Flint, such as building the Paddlers’ Landing at Mott Park Recreation Area. The Corridor Alliance was founded in 2007 to initiate, support, and sustain projects in Flint’s river corridor that revitalize the river as a community asset. The Corridor Alliance became a chapter of the Flint River Watershed Coalition in 2018.

More Info:

Anyone interested in participating can find more information by emailing Sarah Scheitler, Corridor Alliance Manager, at sscheitler@flintriver.org.

Flint River Flotilla How-To:

1. Purchase tickets & pre-order your Flotilla gear here through Sunday, August 16th, 2020.

2. Choose your float location, time, and vessel. Let someone on land know your float plan.

3. Decorate your boat, create a costume, and embark on your Flotilla adventure!! Be sure to bring your life jacket!

4. Post your photos or videos to the Flotilla 2020 Facebook page, or email them to sscheitler@flintriver.org to be entered to win Flotilla prizes, as well as awards for best costume and best boat decoration!

Preview of the 2020 Flint River Flotilla T-Shirt and Tank:

It is with very heavy hearts that we say goodbye to an invaluable member of the Corridor Alliance’s board and executive committee. Alisa Stewart (formerly Craig), passed away on March 24th, 2020 as a result of an auto accident, and donated her organs as a gift of life.

Alisa served on our Board with love, integrity and always had the biggest heart when it came to our mission for our Flint River. It is hard to believe that she is no longer with us, but her spirit always will be. She was truly an amazing human with a smile that will forever warm our hearts.

“Our executive committee meetings were like siting around the conference room table with sisters. We laughed, we brainstormed, we got things done and we were a team. It’s hard to believe that we won’t see that wonderful smile of hers or that magical energy she had.” — Kathleen Gazall, Corridor Alliance Board Chair.

Our community will feel this great loss. She loved her job, she loved volunteering and giving back. She loved all of us.

Please keep her children and her family in your thoughts.

With love and peace – Kathleen Gazall, Chair; Rebecca Fedewa, Vice Chair; Cheryl McHallam, Treasurer; Sarah Scheitler, Corridor Alliance Manager; and the Corridor Alliance Board of Directors.

Hurley Medical Center, where Alisa served as the Director of Wellness Services, shared a video of Alisa’s final “Honor Walk” through the hospital in recognition of her Gift of Life. Click here to view this moving tribute.

Check out our introduction to our new video series Exploring the Flint River! We’re posting these monthly to answer your questions, so let us know what you want to see next. Email sscheitler@flintriver.org to reach out.

Pre-registration ends Thursday, August 1st at midnight. Register here! https://corridoralliance.ticketspice.com/flint-river-flotilla-2019

We need 50 volunteers to help with the Flotilla! Free t-shirt included. If you’re interested, please email sscheitler@flintriver.org.

A PDF of the Flotilla flyer is available here: Flotilla 2019 Flyer 8.5×11

Save time on Flotilla day – fill out your liability waiver in advance! Download and print the waiver, complete and sign the bottom of the form,  and bring with you to Flotilla registration. Minors must have a guardian signature to participate. KF Waiver final – 2019.05.24

Flint River Flotilla 2019 – Endless Summer

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

Parking & After-Party at: Mott Park Recreation Area, Sunset Dr. just east of Ballenger Hwy.

Registration & Launch at: Tenacity Brewing, 119 N. Grand Traverse, Flint, MI 48503

Registration begins at 11am, Tenacity will also be open at 11am

Launch Times: Launches will be in waves this year to avoid extended lines at the start.

  • Inflatable rafts/tubes: launch at 11:30am
  • Mixed groups of inflatables & boats, or boats who will slow float: launch at 12pm
  • Boats with paddles: launch at 12:30pm

Registration: $10/person, Ages 12 & under FREE Pre-Register Here until August 1st

2019 Flint River Flotilla T-Shirts: $16 pre-order, $20 day-of

Kayak Rental for the Flotilla: $25 – There are no more kayak rentals remaining (7/31/19)

Inflatable floats: $20 (limited quantity, yours to keep)

Life Jackets: $5 (limited quantity, yours to keep)

The Flint River Flotilla returns for its 5th year as the best river party in Flint! Our theme this year is Endless Summer, so come in your best surf/paddle attire and decorate your boat to match. Bring your inner tube, paddle board, kayak, canoe, or anything that floats (plus a life jacket!) and join us on this relaxing and fun journey down the Flint River from Tenacity Brewing to the Mott Park Recreation Area. The float will take about 2 hours. 

Stay for the after party, sponsored by Hurley Medical Center and NAETC/Local 659, at the Mott Park landing featuring live music by local band Sweet Pea, Flotilla prizes, Bella’s Food Truck, an ice cream cart by Jon Hardman, photo ops, and more!

You ticket gets you access to a shuttle from the parking area to the launch site, Flotilla entry and support along the float, access to the after-party, and an exclusive Flint River Flotilla 2019 sticker.

 Flint River Flotilla How-To:

  1. Purchase tickets & pre-order your Flotilla gear HERE through Thursday, August 1st. Day-of registration is also available beginning at 11am.
  2. Park at Mott Park Rec Area (former Mott Park Golf Course) – enter off Sunset Dr. east of Ballenger Hwy (see map below).
  3. Hop on the shuttle to the registration and launch site at Tenacity Brewing, 119 Grand Traverse. Be sure to bring your:
  • Wearable life jacket
  • Raft/float*
  • Payment (cards & cash accepted) if you need to register and/or want to purchase a beverage at Tenacity

The shuttle service begins at 11:00am and runs until 12:30pm. Please bring your rafts uninflated for transport on the shuttle. Air compressors available. *If you’re bringing a canoe or kayak, drop it off at Tenacity Brewing (119 N. Grand Traverse) and then proceed with your vehicle to the parking area at Mott Park and hop on the shuttle back to the launch site.

  1. Fill out liability waiver (also available to download above) and get a hand stamp. Everyone under 18 must have a guardian signature on liability waiver. All participants must wear a life jacket. No alcohol on the river. We will have limited life jackets available for purchase at registration for $5 each.
  2. Float through the endless summer!
  3. Enjoy the after-party at the Mott Park landing with music, food trucks, photo ops, and Flotilla prizes!

*  Event will occur rain or shine. Severe weather may delay start time.

A huge thank-you to our Flint River Flotilla 2019 sponsors!

Party Wave Joint Sponsors:




Bridge Sponsors:

Chevrolet Ave Bridge




Stevenson Bridge






Mott Park Footbridge






Surf’s Up Sponsors:

























Hang Loose Sponsors:






Join us downtown on March 8th, 9th, and 21st to support the Paddlers’ Landing! Learn more and donate at www.patronicity.com/paddlerslanding.