In early December of 2021 as many were celebrating the holiday season, a major event happened in Milwaukee. 400 gallons of oil drained into the Menomonee River, after an accident at Komatsu Mining Corp on the city’s south side. The oil began to saturate the water, ending up in the Milwaukee River before anyone from the city was made aware of what happened.

“Initially it was thought to be a minor spill of some waste oil on the property. It was learned, not long after, that it was a major oil spill. 400 gallons into a sewer drain that led directly into the Menomonee River. Komatsu did what it was required by law to do, immediately contacting the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but it didn’t go beyond that and that’s the issue here,” says Rich Rovito, who wrote about the spill for Milwaukee Magazine.