AUGUSTA, Mich. (WOOD) - A 34-mile section of the Kalamazoo River was re-opened Thursday, two years after the spill that dumped almost a million gallons of crude oil into the water.
"This is the largest inland oil spill in the history of this country," said Kalamazoo County Health Officer Linda Vail.
The portion reopened is from Saylor's Landing near 15 Mile Road in Calhoun County all the way to Morrow Lake. It's near the Fort Custer Recreational Area in Augusta.
Craig Mason and his friend Bo spent some of Thursday fishing in the river.
"Peaceful and at the same time exciting," said Mason.
Mason said he was "upset" after the spill.
"I use this area pretty regularly," he added.
The water is safe after extensive testing by state and local authorities. But that doesn't mean that there isn't any oil left in the river.
"If you should encounter any of it and it gets on your skin, wash it off with soap and water," said Vail.
The Morrow Lake delta area remains closed and is marked off by buoys.
In April, a three-mile stretch of the river was opened near Marshall for the first time since the spill in the summer of 2010. On June 1, Bridge Park reopened.
Only 1000 feet of delta at Morrow Lake remains closed as work continues, but it is not closed due to any health issues. That area should be open within a few weeks, an Enbridge official told 24 Hour News 8.
"You can see the end in sight now. We were wondering how long it would be before we ever could get back on the river," said Nancy Murray, who lives along the river.
Enbridge has also been seeking feedback from the public on their river experience.
Officials from the company estimate a total clean-up cost of more than $765 million.
-- 24 Hour News 8's Leon Hendrix contributed to this report.
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