ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A lane of US-131 near Rockford that has been periodically closed for cleanup of a spill will remain closed during the day until March 3, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Crews have been working to excavate soil that was contaminated with when a tank rolled over on Jan. 24, spilling thousands of gallons of fuel off the side of the highway. The project has closed a lane of northbound US-131 at 12 Mile Road since. MDOT had previously extended the deadline until Feb. 17.
In a Wednesday news release, MDOT said that the cleanup would take longer, saying the lane would be closed during the day from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. until March 3.
The tank had been carrying about 13,000 gallons of fuel, but hazmat crews limited the spill to about 4,800 gallons covering about 800 feet. They pumped the remaining fuel out of the tanker and hauled it away. Contaminated soil is being dug up and taken to a special landfill.
The Kent County Health Department has already taken samples of four of the five wells in surrounding properties to see if they have been affected by the fuel. Although test results have not returned, the health department’s Supervising Sanitarian Brendan Earl said he does not expect to find gasoline in those wells. The fifth one is winterized so cannot be tested until the spring.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has placed monitoring wells in line with the groundwater flow and near wells in the area. They will act as a first line of defense.
“If those wells ever show anything we will immediately begin testing the residential wells,” said Earl. “EGLE’s role here is to care of the cleanup and ours is to ensure public health by making sure our residents have clean drinking water.”