MARSHALL, Mich. (WOOD) - The Environmental Protection Agency released new figures on the July 2010 Enbridge oil spill -- and the spill appears to be much larger than originally thought.
At the time of the spill, Enbridge estimated that about 819,000 gallons of oil flowed into Talmadge Creek and then the Kalamazoo River when a pipeline running from from Griffith, Ind. to Sarnia, Ontario ruptured.
But updated numbers from the EPA, released on Monday, indicate that more than 1.1 million gallons of oil have already been recovered -- and there's still more to be cleaned up.
24 Hour News 8 also learned on Wednesday that the EPA has discovered 200 acres of oil pockets along the river that they had not previously known about.
The cleanup, the EPA figures said, has included the collection and disposal of 15.7 million gallons of oil and water and the disposal of 158,435 cubic yards of soil and debris.
A total of 1,139,569 gallons of oil have been recovered.
466 cleanup personnel remain on site.
The EPA figures also indicate that the cleanup has cost $36.7 million so far.
Enbridge said this week that it has cleaned up most of the spill: "We have recovered the majority of the submerged oil," Enbridge spokesman Jason Manshum told 24 Hour News 8 on Monday. "We are taking core samples and they will be analyzed and tested to determine how much oil is left ... There are only remnants."
Enbridge is standing by its estimate of 844,000 gallons. Manshum said that the 1.1 million gallon figure includes any natural and organic that is collected and petroleum-based products like sewage and car runoff, as well as the spilled oil.
"There are a lot of conservative factors... that we believe contribute to an overstatement of the total amount collected," Manshum told 24 Hour News 8 on Monday.
But with much more oil than originally estimated already pulled from the river and new pockets of oil found, it's now unclear how much oil actually remains.
The company has already missed the EPA-mandated Aug. 31 cleanup deadline.
Manshum said that the company's next reassessment of a timeline is scheduled for the spring of 2012 and they currently do not have a deadline.
The EPA update follows an announcement by Enbridge early this week that it would shut down submerged oil recovery efforts for the winter as cold temperatures make cleanup methods more difficult.
A statement from Jason Manshum, a Senior Advisor, Community Relations for Enbridge, was received by 24 Hour News 8 on Wednesday evening:
Enbridge still estimates that 843,444 gallons of crude oil was released from Line 6B near Marshall.
The 1,139,569 gallons of oil recovered as stated on the U.S. EPA website is calculated and reported weekly by Enbridge and is a culmination of everything collected during cleanup of the Kalamazoo River and Talmadge Creek – the product released from Line 6B, non-petroleum organic materials, and other potential petroleum-based products in the river. There are a number of conservative factors involved in calculating this number that we believe contribute to an overestimation of the total amount collected.
The work completed over the summer and fall successfully removed the majority of submerged oil. We are currently doing additional work to better calculate the volume of oil remaining in the river.
The estimated amounts of oil collected is a testament to the success of cleanup and remediation efforts to date.
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