NEWS

Sarnia mayor slams Americans over diesel spill

07/20/2012 09:24 EDT | Updated 09/19/2012 05:12 EDT
Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley has criticized American authorities for not immediately notifying his city about a diesel fuel spill in Lake Huron.

Approximately 6,700 litres of fuel began leaking when a dredge and a small tugboat sank Thursday morning.

The fuel did not come ashore in Sarnia. But Mike Bradley is not happy it took four hours before Canadian officials were notified.

"There's a bigger issue here too. it was just two years ago this summer that the great lakes mayors expressed great concern that there was not a spill action plan in place for the great lakes if something happened, and we asked both national governments to take action on that."

Bradley said the latest spill is a wake-up call. He plans the bring up the matter with the Great Lakes Alliance, a group that includes mayors from both sides of the border.

"No question, our concern is about notification and that's already been expressed to the American authorities," Bradley said. "There's supposed to be a notification process that works both ways, and obviously it didn't work."

As a precaution, the intake providing drinking water to most of Sarnia-Lambton was shut down for several hours Thursday.

Cleanup underway

The cleanup effort has been affected by high waves and heavy rain.

Lauren Laughlin is a petty officer with the U.S. Coast Guard.

"The seas were two to four feet waves with 15 to 20 knot winds with heavy rain," she said.

Despite a boom being deployed, a sheen of diesel made its way to the shoreline on the American side, just north of Port Huron.

Despite nearly 430 metres of boom being deployed, diesel fuel has washed up on the beach on the Michigan side, just north of Port Huron.

Leann Smith lives in the area.

"We can see it coming in we can see the sheen on the water watched it come in what's going to happen to the rest of our summer with the beach what's it going to do our life here at our home?"

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