On December 27, 2017, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality responded to a brine and crude oil spill of 50 barrels (2,150 gallons) from a discharge reported to it by Merit Energy. The oil and brine leaked from a flow line when equipment malfunctioned. On January 31, 2018, Merit Energy Company called the NRC and reported the oil and brine discharge for the first time. The discharge was to a wetland that is a tributary to Little Beaver Creek, which is a tributary to the Manistee River that flows to Lake Michigan. Merit Energy Company initiated cleanup efforts after confirming the location along the line where the leak occurred.
EPA responded to the reported discharge after having been advised of the spill by MDEQ's Oil and Gas Division. EPA confirmed that cleanup operations were underway and that surface waters had not been impacted. EPA also notified and invited representatives from a potentially affected tribe ( The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians) to participate in the site visit.