Mississippi River cleanup efforts continue through holiday weekend

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LECLAIRE, Iowa — The Coast Guard, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Services and local emergency crews continue to respond to the oil spill into the Mississippi River near LeClaire, Iowa from a partially submerged towboat Friday, Nov, 29, 2013.

The Stephen L. Colby Unified Command is aggressively working to minimize all negative impacts to the public, wildlife and environment.

As of 10 a.m. today approximately 25,000 gallons of oil has been recovered from the vessel. Lightering operations will continue to remove diesel directly from the sunken vessel. Approximately 34,800 gallons of oily water mixture has been recovered from the river. Approximately 91,000 gallons of petroleum products are reported to have been on board the vessel when it sank.

The unified command continues to bring additional resources to collect the released oil. As of 10 a.m. today 7,200 feet of hard boom and approximately 26,000 feet of absorbent boom have been staged to minimize pollution impacts. Recovery efforts continue to reduce shoreline pollution.

To assess the environmental impacts Iowa DNR is conducting water column samples as needed. Results as of today indicate no impact on the water column. The unified command is in contact with all six of the local water intake companies. All companies are aware of the release and monitoring the chemical analysis of their water around the clock. In the event oil is observed in any water collection they will immediately close their operations until the operation can be remedied.

The Captain of the Port has opened the channel to vessel marine traffic on the Mississippi River from mile marker 493 to mile maker 501 limited to one-way traffic at mile marker 497. All vessel traffic should favor the left descending bank and proceed at a safe and slow speed. The channel remaining open during salvage and cleanup operations is contingent upon vessel traffic not disturbing ongoing operations. Coast Guard personnel, along with Iowa DNR, Illinois EPA and local emergency response crews, are aggressively working to minimize any environmental damage.

The unified command urges the public not to handle any wildlife themselves to protect the animals and themselves. Response crews will be conducting scare tactics to divert wildlife from becoming oiled.

To report a property claim related to the incident please contact 1-800-280-7118.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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