This post will be updated as information is available. Last update 8/5/2022.
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. The Lockhart property is drained through storm sewer 001 into the Flint River. The spill was a mix of industrial chemical waste from an underground storage tank that was not maintained. 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.
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.
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.
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.
6/15/2022 Thousands of Gallons of Oil-based Material Spilled : https://www.mlive.com/news/flint/2022/06/thousand-gallons-of-oil-based-material-spilled-into-flint-river.html
6/16/2022 Lockhart Likely Source: https://www.mlive.com/news/flint/2022/06/state-says-lockhart-chemical-is-likely-source-of-flint-river-chemical-spill.html
6/17/2022 Search Continues for Location of Breach: https://www.mlive.com/news/flint/2022/06/search-continues-for-breach-that-led-to-flint-river-chemical-spill.html
6/18/2022 No Contact Order Remains in Place: https://www.mlive.com/news/flint/2022/06/no-contact-order-remains-in-place-for-flint-river-as-chemical-removal-continues.html
6/24/2022 Promising Lead on Breach: https://www.mlive.com/news/flint/2022/06/investigators-have-promising-lead-on-breach-that-led-to-chemicals-spilling-into-flint-river.html
6/27/2022 Health Order Narrowed: https://www.mlive.com/news/flint/2022/06/health-order-lifted-for-most-of-flint-river-in-genesee-county.html
7/7/2022 Main Breach Identified: https://www.wnem.com/2022/07/07/main-breach-identified-flint-river-spill/
7/8/2022 Chemical Spill Cancels Flotilla: https://www.mlive.com/news/flint/2022/07/flint-river-chemical-spill-causes-flotilla-to-be-switched-to-pirate-fest-on-land.html
7/28/2022 Lockhart Had Previous Violations: https://nbc25news.com/news/local/egle-lockhart-chemical-company-source-of-flint-river-spill-has-had-previous-violations
6/16-7/6/2022 EPA Site Profile & Updates: https://response.epa.gov/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=15646