GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Bend Area Open Space Park will reopen Friday after it was closed for weeks as crews worked to contain and clean up an oil spill.
The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said the recreational area will be open to the public starting Friday. However, visitors are advised to stay away from fenced-off areas and fish caught on the lake should be released immediately.
A cleanup team has been working to mitigate impacts on the affected areas, and the majority has been resolved since the oil spill was first reported on April 10, according to the sheriff’s office.
Crews with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy determined the oil came from an old well covered up by floodwaters from the lake.
Michigan has an estimated 447 so-called orphan wells. The U.S. Department of Interior awarded the state $25 million last year to begin plugging them.
As the water levels have dropped, the sheriff’s office said oil has stained trees and shrubs in the area, and there may be small areas of oil on the ground. The area will continue to be monitored, and additional minor cleanup efforts will likely be needed in the future, according to OCSO.