The leak into the Kalamazoo River came from a pipeline of Canadian company Enbridge Inc.

In a statement, it said: “Enbridge takes every incident very seriously and we’re treating this situation as a top priority. No one was injured. However, oil was released into a creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River, and it has entered the river.

“We are committed to thoroughly cleaning up the site as quickly as possible. The safety of people and the protection of the environment are our highest priorities during the clean up.

“Enbridge has notified and is working with the appropriate regulators and emergency officials. The cause of the release has not been determined and is being investigated.”

The Kalamazoo River drains into Lake Michigan, part of North America’s Great Lakes network containing 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water.Enbridge reported the leak to the authorities on Monday, July 26.

It estimates more than 800,000 gallons of oil have leaked from the 30-inch pipeline.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts its estimate at more than a million gallons.

The crude oil gushed into Talmadge Creek, which feeds the Kalamazoo River and by the weekend had affected a 30 mile stretch of the river.

The pipeline carries oil from Indiana to Ontario and the affected area includes marshlands, residential areas, farmland and business districts.

The Environmental Protection Agency first requested $2 million (£1.25 million) of federal funding to fight the spill and has stated it can and may ask for more.

The EPA has set up booms to stop the oil spreading and has been monitoring air quality in the affected area to test for toxins such as benzene and volatile organic compounds.

It is also dredging the bottom of Lake Morrow to see if contaminants have reached this body of water.

The leak has been plugged but the EPA estimates the clean-up could take months to complete.

In a statement, it said: “The Kalamazoo River is a fast-moving river. And EPA’s focus right now is on preventing oil from the Enbridge spill from affecting sensitive shorelines and, ultimately, keeping the oil out of Lake Michigan.”

David Gibbs

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