Officials have attempted oil spill cleanup methods to contain the leakage, but the damage has closed 40 miles of the river and forced many residents and businesses to relocate. Michigan residents express oil spill concerns along Kalamazoo River The smell of oil was sickeningly strong at first. Residents evacuated the houses nearest to the leak, and workers within half a mile of the pipeline break had to wear respirators to protect them from inhaling fumes. Even a dozen miles downstream, I could smell the oil and feel the fumes irritating my eyes. These fumes were the light components of the oil evaporating into the air. The heavy components of the oil were left behind on the banks or gradually sank to the bottom of the river. Investigating Environmental Impacts: Oil on the Kalamazoo River Oh that darn EPA. What do we need it for? Let business do business. This is why it's dangerous to put Republicans in charge of anything. War, disasters, doesn't matter. They always find a way to make things worse. The cost so far is 10 times per gallon the cost of cleaning up a regular spill, because the oil sands sink to the bottom of the river where they can't get to it.