Enbridge Oil Spill Activities and Reports

Oil Remaining in Surface Water and Overbank Areas

MDCH evaluated the health risks for people coming into contact with the remaining oil at the bottom of the Kalamazoo River and Morrow Lake. While contact with the remaining oil is not expected to cause cancer or other long-term health problems, short-term problems, such as skin irritation could occur.  Avoid contact with the oil.  If your skin or clothing comes into contact with the oil, wash with soap and water as soon as possible to remove any oil from your skin. Read the Enbridge Oil Spill Public Health Assessment.

The Acute Health Effects of the Enbridge Oil Spill.

In response to health concerns during the 2010 emergency response, state and local public health agencies in Michigan quickly set up a surveillance system.  A report was prepared from physician visits, community surveys, Poison Control Center calls, and data submitted to the MDCH.  Read the Acute Health Effects of the Enbridge Oil Spill Report.

Evaluation of Air Contamination

MDCH continues to evaluate the air data collected as part of the oil spill response and cleanup. MDCH will provide this information in a Public Health Assessment that evaluates the potential for health problems caused by air contamination during the 2010 emergency response as well as the 2011 cleanup activities. 

Evaluation of Impacts to Drinking Water

Testing of private drinking water wells began very quickly after the Enbridge oil spill to ensure that water was safe to drink. To date, these tests have shown that the oil spill has not affected the safety of drinking water.  Testing of private water wells will continue for the next decade or two. In addition, monitoring wells are being used to locate any future contamination in areas where groundwater could be affected.  Read the Drinking Water Public Health Assessment.


Evaluation of Fish Contamination
MDCH recommends that you use the guidelines listed in the Eat Safe Fish Guide (Michigan Fish Advisory) to find fish that are safer to eat from the Kalamazoo River area. Fish were collected from the Kalamazoo River both in the spill area and from a location upstream that was not affected by the oil spill. Fish collected from the spill area in 2010 and 2011 had very low levels of oil-related chemicals. These levels were not high enough not trigger fish eating guidelines. Read the Surface Water and Fish Consumption Public Health Assessment. 


For all health assessments and letter consultations related to the Enbridge Oil Spill, please visit: