EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — The clean-up continues at the site of a major oil spill in Edwardsville that dumped more than 160,000 gallons of oil into the Cahokia Creek.
That work includes a focus on rescuing wildlife and getting them back to health. Sadly, several animals have already died. Others are being treated right now. This as families deal with the effects of living so close to that oil spill.
There's a reason Virgil Bryant chose his quiet Edwardsville neighborhood two months ago.
"We loved the country setting, the privacy and the wildlife. We wake up every morning, wildlife is amazing. We see deer. We see squirrels, numbers of birds,” he said.
Over the past few days, they've also been seeing something they’re not used to, work to clean up a major oil spill in the Cahokia Creek. It sits just behind his family's home.
"We saw them digging and when we rode by it, there was this strong smell,” Elaine Loehr said.
Right now, the Treehouse Wildlife group in Illinois is working to save animals that were injured in the oil spill.
"It's crucial. A lot of them will die if they don't get care. Even just a little bit of oil can make a big difference for them,” said Dr. Allison Daugherty with the World Bird Sanctuary.
She isn't involved with the Illinois response, but she's seen these kinds of situations before.
"A lot of times you have to stabilize the animal before you ever bathe them but the longer you wait to bathe them, the longer that material is on them, the more likely they are to ingest it if they're trying to clean their feathers or trying to preen,” she explained.
It's an intricate process.
"If you put them through the shock or stress of a bath too soon that could kill them too so it's kind of a fine line,” she continued.
Tuesday, people donated resources to help with the mission. Meantime, families who live nearby have concerns of their own.
"I don't know if what we're smelling all of this is not going to affect our health,” Loehr added.
Emergency response officials say they are monitoring the air around the site and so far no signs of any dangers. The ruptured Marathon pipeline is now repaired but no word yet how long cleanup will take or when roads around the worksite will re-open.