Sonar scanning equipment to be deployed to help with mineral oil leak

C.J. Kirwer, a contractor from T&T Subsea, stands next to a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV), April 15, 2018. Weather permitting, the ROV is slated for deployment by the American Transmission Company in the next few days. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ens. Pamela Manns).

MACKINAW CITY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- The Unified Command has announced that the American Transmission Company is slated to deploy sonar scanning technology and a remotely operated underwater (ROV) vehicle to better assess damage to the affected utility cables that leaked mineral oil into the Straits of Mackinac.

The leak was discovered after two circuits went offline on Sunday, April 1.

The ROV will be deployed as soon as the weather conditions no longer pose a danger.

ATC contracted with Durocher Marine and T&T Subsea to provide tugs, a barge and an ROV to assess the damage.

A tug retrofitted with the sonar technology will be able to locate the damage in the utility cables and the ROV will obtain underwater, visual imagery of the cables. The images obtained will provide the Unified Command with the information needed to determine how best to deal with the damaged cables.

Despite the weekend snowstorm, crews from North Shore Environmental worked shore side and continued to extract mineral oil from the Straits.

To date, more than 300 gallons of oil has been extracted from the utility cables.

In addition, wildlife professionals from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) Wildlife Services program conducted wildlife surveillance from land and did not observe any impacted birds or wildlife.

The mineral oil leak from the cables remains under investigation.

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