Providers say drinking water safe after boat sinks in Mississippi River

Officials from area water companies say drinking water that is drawn from the Mississippi River is still safe.

A tug boat carrying an estimated 89,000 gallons of diesel fuel plus more than 1,000 gallons of petroleum lubricant ran aground and sank in the river at LeClaire on Monday, November 25, 2013.

Emergency workers sent to the scene said they could smell the petroleum but it was unclear now much, if any, had leaked into the river.

Water providers downstream from the wreck are monitoring the situation and taking precautions to protect the integrity of water drawn from the Mississippi.

Iowa American Water spokesperson Lisa Reisen said their treatment plant along the Mississippi River in Davenport is secure and drinking water in the Iowa Quad Cities is safe.

“As an added precaution, Iowa American Water is drawing into its treatment facility from a lower level intake.  Oils and fuels are lighter than water, so by switching to a deeper intake, the company can avoid pulling any leaked products into its treatment facility,” Reisen said.

Water Service officials in Moline say their utility routinely pumps water from lower depths, so they, too, are closely monitoring the water conditions but they were, so far, not affected.

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