Crews Work To Stop Oil Leaks After Towboat Sinks Near LeClaire - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Crews Work To Stop Oil Leaks After Towboat Sinks Near LeClaire

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People who typically come to downtown LeClaire for shopping and small town attractions are getting a glimpse of a large-scale emergency response.

"I've seen a boat sink, a little boat," said passerby, Colton Chenoweth, "but never a big one like that. That's pretty intense."

A sunken towboat with 16 feet of river water inside of it is certainly something to see. But it's also an accident  with the potential for serious environmental impact.

"There is over 100,000 gallons of petroleum products on board this ship," said Lt. Colin Fogarty with the U.S. Coast Guard. "It's our major concern that we limit the impact to the environment."

Clean-up crews are working to contain and recover much of the oil that has been leaking since the crash. Thousands of feet of containment booms deployed to stop the spread of oil.

Professional divers have also been hired to survey the ship and plug up any holes that could be leaking unsafe chemicals into the river.

"Despite these actions, oil still is leaking out of the boat," said Fogarty. "Oil has reached down to Lock and Dam 14 and that's approximately five river miles down the way."

Still, the Fogarty says it's roughly 500 gallons of oil that spilled from the sunken towboat.

"That is actually a small fraction." He says the situation could have been 200 times worse.

The Coast Guard says it is conducting a complete investigation to determine the cause of the actual crash and whether any person was at fault.

 

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