Dead Fish, Turtles Recovered Following Bubbly Creek Oil Spill

Workers from the Environmental Protection Agency respond to an oil spill that was reported Oct. 26 at a fork of the Chicago River known as Bubbly Creek. (EPA)Workers from the Environmental Protection Agency respond to an oil spill that was reported Oct. 26 at a fork of the Chicago River known as Bubbly Creek. (EPA)

Federal wildlife officials responding to last week’s oil spill in the South Branch of the Chicago River have recovered dead wildlife from the water, including 43 fish, four turtles, one Canada goose and one seagull, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

On Oct. 26, EPA staff responded to the oil discharge along a 1.5-mile section of the river known as Bubbly Creek. As of Monday, EPA workers had completed about 90 percent of oil cleanup west of the Ashland Avenue bridge and were beginning to clean up residual sheen at Chicago Park District’s Park No. 571, according to the EPA’s website.

Workers have secured the affected area of the river with containment booms, but the source of the oil spill remains unknown, the EPA said.

“The problem is that it wasn’t reported for several days,” said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River, noting that the spill occurred two days before the EPA was notified.

Video: Cleanup efforts underway Saturday at Bubbly Creek. (Credit: Oliver Czuma)

The EPA continues to investigate the source of the spill, with support from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, according to the EPA’s website.

In addition to the dead wildlife, staff from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services and the EPA recovered one oiled Canada goose and two turtles, which have been transferred to a wildlife rehabilitation center for care and recovery.

Contact Alex Ruppenthal: @arupp aruppenthal@wttw.com | (773) 509-5623


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