Towboat Sinking Near LeClaire, Oil Discharge-UPDATED - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Towboat Sinking Near LeClaire, Oil Discharge-UPDATED


UPDATE Tuesday AM 11/26: According to Lt. Fogarty with the US Coast Guard, the towboat is still leaking oil, but 3,000 feet of boom has been deployed to contain the spill.

Fogarty says due to the quick reaction, a massive leak was prevented.

He says only around 100 gallons of oil was released, instead of the potential 100,000 gallons.

Divers will be on scene on Tuesday to try and repair the damage to the hull.

More divers and salvagers will be on scene in the next 24-48 hours to help raise the boat.

According to Fogarty, the main goal of the Coast Guard is to reduce the impact on the environment and get the river back open.

They are currently working with the Corp. of Engineers to do so.

KWQC also spoke with Lisa Reisen, spokeswoman from Iowa American Water about concerns for the drinking water in the QCA.

She says the water is safe to drink.

They are monitoring the situation around LeClaire, Iowa and have switched to a lower intake which means they are pulling water from the river further underneath the water instead of from on top where there could be contaminants.

Stay tuned to KWQC-TV6 and for further updates.

ORIGINAL STORY: Police, fire and coast guard crews were all on scene in LeClaire after a 144 foot tow boat used to guide barges up and down the river began sinking in the Mississippi on Monday afternoon, November 25, 2013. 

The boat was punctured south of the Quad Cities when it apparently hit a submerged object. The boat is holding about 100,000 gallons of fuel. Divers were in the water trying to determine what the damage it and whether or not any fuel is leaking.
Crews on scene are investigating the extent of the damage and what sort of leak they're dealing with. The police chief in LeClaire said you can't be too careful.

"89,000 gallons is a significant amount of fuel," said Chief Shane Thames. "It will disperse if you don't contain it. So that can become a environmental hazard. At this point, we have no injuries, everyone is safe. So that's our next priority."

Officials say they're goal is to contain the fuel but eventually they'll have to try to get the boat out of the water.
We're told that probably won't happen until later this week. 
We'll continue to bring you updates as they become available.

Watch the action from the LECLAIRE SKYCAM.

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