Bubbly Creek Mystery Oil Spill

Chicago, IL - Region V

Site Contact:

Len Zintak


Chicago River
Mile Marker 321
Chicago, IL 60608

Latitude: 41.8436188
Longitude: -87.6632079
NRC#: 1184231

On October 26, 2017, EPA responded to an approximate 1.5-mile mystery oil spill on the South Fork Chicago River (a.k.a. Bubbly Creek) which generally flows to the South Branch of the Chicago River and the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal. Oil sheen was observed to the west on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to California Avenue.

Nov. 9 Update
EPA's response to the Bubbly Creek Mystery Oil Spill has been completed. Boom preventing entry into Bubbly Creek has been removed. Coast Guard restrictions into Bubbly Creek will be lifted on November 10, 2017.

The oil has been identified as slightly weathered low-sulfur diesel fuel mixed with lubricating oil but the source and quantity of oil remains unknown. EPA is working with the United States Coast Guard and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to investigate potential sources.

One oiled Canada goose and two turtles were transferred to the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center by US Fish and Wildlife and USDA for care and recovery. The center anticipates a full recovery for the goose and one turtle with the goose being released at Chicago Park #571 in the next few weeks and the turtle to be released in the spring. The second turtle sustained injuries prior to rehabilitation and is not anticipated to be released. Further updates on the wildlife can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/flintcreek/

EPA will continue to provide updates to this website.



  • None for this site


  • None for this site



  • None for this site