Mississippi River Still Closed After Barge Accident Oil Spill

The Mississippi River remains closed as cleanup continues from an oil spill. The spill happened on on Sunday.

Officials have already placed more than 2,500 feet of boom into the river to contain the spill, according to Petty Officer Jonathan Lally.

There is still no estimate for how long it will take until the spill is cleaned up. At most, it could reach to 80,000 gallons of crude oil. It isn’t clear yet how much oil leaked out, or how much was recovered, reports The Los Angeles Times.

River traffic in the area has been blocked off and more than 47 vessels are currently waiting for passage. The sheen from the spill is still visible on the water, but Lally assured it isn’t an indication of the degree of damage caused. He explained:

“A teaspoon of oil can create a sheen that is spread by a variety of factors like water currents. It can look really long, but it doesn’t give a huge amount of information.”

Yahoo! News notes that a helicopter crew has reported no evidence of the oil spill washed ashore down river. Oil was pumped from the damaged oil tank into another tank on the same barge. Officials hope that they will soon be able to transfer the oil to another barge.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the accident. It occurred when a tugboat was pulling or pushing two barges southbound on the river. One of the barges struck a railroad bridge. Both barges were damaged in the accident, but only one appeared to be leaking oil.

The bridge was briefly closed to railroad traffic. A previous accident on the Mississippi River caused the river to be closed for a day while crews worked to clean up 10,000 gallons of oil.

[Image via ShutterStock]