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Oil spill: 400 gallons discharged into Menomonee, Milwaukee rivers, Milwaukee Riverkeeper says

komatsu oil
Posted at 5:28 PM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 23:20:35-05

MILWAUKEE — A used oil transfer error discharged 400 gallons of oil to the Menomonee River last Friday, according to Milwaukee Riverkeeper.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper says the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources confirmed Komatsu has taken responsibility for the incident.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper said on Thursday they received several reports of an oil sheen on both the Menomonee and Milwaukee Rivers. Officials say the discharge of oil went into the Menomonee River from a stormwater outfall near American Family Field.

"They've placed a boom on site to contain oil, and continue to clean up the contaminated stormwater outfall," Milwaukee Riverkeeper said in a statement on Thursday.

Officials say the oil sheen has been observed along both rivers, both downstream and upstream of the Menomonee River confluence, due to the lake seiche and wind pushing some product upstream.

According to officials, Komatsu will be conducting spot cleanups of product from the rivers.

Komatsu released a statement Thursday regarding the oil spill. Officials say staff at its Joy Global facility on National Ave. initially believed it was a small spill of waste oil from a container. They say upon learning of the spill, they immediately began cleanup procedures and reported the matter to the appropriate authorities.

"As cleanup work continued this week, it became clear that the spill was more extensive than initially thought and we began to implement a more aggressive cleanup and remediation effort," Komatsu said in a statement. "We are in the midst of investigating how this very regrettable accident occurred and we are focused on continuing to implement aggressive cleanup efforts to remediate the situation as quickly as possible."

Komatsu goes on to state:

"Our expanded cleanup efforts include immediate plans to place absorbent containment devices or “booms” to contain the oil in the areas where any concern of waste has been noticed, including spots in the Menomonee, Kinnickinnic and Milwaukee rivers, as well as the tributary below the Hoan Bridge. We have employed a professional, national spill response team to help guide this effort. Our cleanup and remediation response plans include the placement of the containment booms noted above, as well as the use of a boat and vacuum truck to remove any oil that has been spilled. We remain in consistent contact with the Wisconsin DNR and the EPA, and we are in the process of reaching out to other stakeholders in the area to brief them on the situation."

Komatsu said they are continuing to monitor and report impacts to area wildlife and waterways. They say they are planning to support necessary care required.

The DNR is assisting with the investigation.

If you see product deposit, contact Milwaukee Riverkeeper at 414-287-0207 so the information is forwarded to the proper authorities.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper is a environmental protection organization located at 600 E. Greenfield Ave.

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