Crews optimistic about Mississippi River oil spill cleanup

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Cleanup efforts are in full swing after a tow boat was reportedly leaking fuel as it sank in the Mississippi River at LeClaire, Iowa on Monday, November 25, 2013.

Throughout the week crews worked to contain the nearly 100,000 gallons of petroleum spilled into the river. On Friday, November 29, 2013 officials were on site overseeing the project and were optimistic about its outcome.

Dennis Ostwinkle from the Iowa DNR said the department was there to ensure the cleanup is done properly and completely. He said a spill like this can have a negative impact on the environment but progress was being made.

“The cleanup is going very well,” Ostwinkle said. “They’ve made significant progress in the last 24 hours.”

Mike Coffey with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service described the situation as a high-risk but low-impact spill. He said as crews contain the spill, the risk deceases.

The fish and wildlife officials have been on site working to keep migrating birds from entering that part of the water.

Coffey said they are using a “scarecrow- type” method to keep birds out of harm’s way. They are installing flags that are flashy to make birds less-enticed to go to that location. He said oil can cause a bird’s feathers to clump.

“That [clumping] loses their insulation,” Coffey said. “So it’d be like us going outside without our coat on and they can die from hypothermia.”

According to Coffey after the emergency response is complete, the next step will be to discuss how to handle any remaining fuel oil either on the shore or elsewhere in the area.

The duck in the photo below was on land near the spill and was captured with a net for treatment.

Duck being treated after oil spill in LeClaire, Iowa, WQAD Photo

Duck being treated after oil spill in LeClaire, Iowa, WQAD Photo