Several thousands of gallons of oily material spilled into Flint River

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FLINT — Several thousands of gallons of an oil-based, dark black material with a petroleum smell spilled into the Flint River in Flint, authorities said Wednesday.

The spilled appeared to be 5 miles long, Jill Greenberg, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, told MLive.com.

“Booms are being deployed, and investigators are working to determine a source,” the agency said on Twitter.

Officials said drinking water was not threatened. Flint used the river for drinking water in 2014-15 before lead contamination caused the city to return to a regional water supplier.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is sending two on-scene coordinators to Flint in response, an EPA spokeswoman said.

Agencies from the city of Flint, Genesee County and the state of Michigan were among those that responded initially to what the state said was a spill of several thousands of gallons of an oil-based, dark black material with a petroleum smell.

They said the spilled material, located within a 10-mile stretch of the river, looks similar to motor oil.

Representatives of the state agency took samples from the affected area of the river Wednesday, but Greenberg said results were not immediately available.

“We’re still in emergency response mode,” Greenberg said. “We’ve identified a potential source, but we are still investigating.”

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