Eastern bank side of the Mississippi River @ Vicksburg, MS
The eastern bank of the Mississippi River has shown no signs of oil residue after a damaged barge leaked 7,000 gallons of crude into the river after hitting the U.S. 80 bridge on January 27, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality officials said yesterday morning.
Ernie Shirley, an environmental scientist with the MDEQ said crews were traveling the river and oxbow lakes by boat yesterday and today to check for any oil.
"There's been some areas in the water, in some of the oxbows, that we've seen, but there's been very little sign of oil on the shoreline," he said. "We're going to have to do some work on the banks to keep checking."
After a Coast Guard helicopter flew 50 miles downriver January 29 and found no oil, MDEQ officials said they felt the oil's impact would be minimal.
Small amounts of oil were found Friday around vegetation in an estuary about two miles from the barges, which have been held against the bank since hitting eh bridges, Lt. Aaron Jozef said.
"We're very thankful they were able to get out there and contain it," he said. "Louisiana has a little shoreline impact there, but unless a citizen calls us and says we missed something, we feel pretty confident that the Mississippi side will be mostly unaffected."
He said he expects MDEQ's work to be completed by today.
Meanwhile, salvage crews are trying to determine when the barges can be hauled north to Greenville for repairs.
Matt Stuart ~ The Vicksburg Post