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Much of Flambeau River cleaned after dam oil spill in Ladysmith

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Flambeau River in Ladysmith November 2022

Flambeau River in Ladysmith from November 2022 (WQOW)

LADYSMITH (WQOW) - Much of the Flambeau River in Ladysmith has been cleaned after oil leaked from the Dairyland Flowage Dam back in November 2022.

Related Article: Ladysmith residents concerned, cleanup underway after Dairyland Power dam spills oil into Flambeau River

As we reported, one of Dairyland Power Cooperative's generating stations released 175 gallons of hydraulic oil on Sunday, November 6.

Since then, the co-op submitted an emergency response report to the Wisconsin DNR.

The report said Dairyland hired Bay West to clean the contamination.  Bay West extracted roughly 20 55-gallon drums of oil-impacted water.  The company used oil booms and Simple Green, a detergent approved by the EPA for oil spill response, to clean 1,000 feet of shoreline.

In addition, the report said the spill was caused by an internal failure in the cooler of turbine number 2, but engineers are still working to determine what exactly caused  the failure.  DNR officials said figuring that out will help prevent future spills.

"Long story short is that there's probably still some residual oil that's maybe trapped on the rocks on the shore, maybe trapped on the soil on the shore, but as of right now, we don't think that there's really any recoverable oil out there," said Jeff Paddock, Wisconsin DNR northern region spill coordinator.

Use of turbine number 2 will not resume until the problem is addressed.

The DNR plans to go back and do a final investigation in the spring to check for any residual impacts on the river, soils, and shoreline adjacent to the river.

There is no enforcement, such as fines, at this point.

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