Oil Spilled in Thornapple River
On Friday, July 7, 2000, approximately 100 gallons of oil leaked into
the Thornapple River from equipment on the construction site of
the Southbelt Freeway. A few days earlier, there was a leak of
about three gallons of oil. Containment procedures are in place.
The DEQ has been on the site and is keeping track of the cleanup.
At the Southbelt Freeway Construction Site
There were a lot of calls to the DEQ and the Thornapple
River Watershed Group about this issue. People were able to see
an oil slick on the surface of the water. The slick could not be
contained by the cleanup barriers. As well, people observed sediment that is being
stirred up from the bottom of the river during construction activities.
The sediment clouds are not part of the spill.
If there is any more news on this topic, we will pass it on.
Raw sewage was released into the Thornapple River July 10, 2000,
from the Hastings Wastewater Treatment Plant.
This was caused by an electrical problem that led to pump failure
in the plant.
From Hastings Wastewater
into Thornapple River
The release is long gone, but tests of the river in Barry County
have revealed that the Thornapple may occasionally have
background levels of E. coli
present that make the water unsafe for body contact.
It would be wise to establish regular testing on the Thornapple in Barry,
because bodily contact is a daily event on the Thornapple River for
tubers, kayakers, canoeists, and anglers.
It would also be wise to survey other sewage treatment plants releasing
to the Thornapple River and see if their backup plan in case of pump
failure is to release raw sewage. This does not seem like a very good
back-up plan to the TRWG.
Kent County Health Department is considering establishing
of the Thornapple at 84th street and 68th Street, where people
regularly float inner tubes in large groups. Because of this use, TRWG
recommends that regular testing be established.
Kent County waters of the Thornapple are approved for
partial body contact, according the the Health Department.