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SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. —The Environmental Protection Agency has notified the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of a significant oil spill from Algoma Steel to the St. Marys River. Commercial traffic has been halted.

Sault Tribe is advising its tribal members with water intakes on Sugar Island to take precautions by obtaining an alternative source of drinking and cooking water.

The spill is 2 to 3 miles in length, east of the Soo Locks in the St. Marys River, running downstream from Algoma Steel to Sugar Island. It is hugging the Canadian Side of the St. Marys, following the current, according to the EPA. According to news reports, the US Coast Guard said Algoma Steel spilled 5,000 gallons of oil, and a sheen has been reported north of Sugar Island.

So far, the Canadians are deploying 4,000 feet of boom, according to the EPA. The US Coast Guard is deploying a drone to monitor the spill and has contracted with Mackinac Environmental in case clean-up is needed on the US side of the river, with no boom deployed as yet. The Chippewa County Sheriff Department is also deploying a drone from Sugar Island.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY