According to an article from the Los Angeles Times, authorities are working to clean up oil on the Mississippi River from a spill that happened after a barge collided with a railroad bridge near Vicksburg, Miss., on Sunday morning. As of Monday, authorities placed more than 2,500 feet of boom in the water to help contain the spill but there is still no word on when the spill will be completely cleaned up or the exact amount spilled.
Here are some facts and details about the oil spill, issues it is causing on the Mississippi River, and the efforts to contain and clean up the oil:
* Two oil barges were being guided side-by-side by a tugboat when they both slammed into a railroad bridge pier at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning. One of the barges began to leak oil into the water right after the crash, noted Reuters.
* No one was injured in the accident and both barges were pushed up on the river bank while federal, state, local, and business response officials arrived on scene to determine how to clean up the oil. Cleanup crews were alerted about two hours after the initial accident.
* The Washington Times reported that government investigators are still trying to determine the exact location of the leak in the barge.
* Officials closed the river to all traffic from eight miles north and eight miles south of the accident location immediately afterwards, which caused a backup of about 21 vessels trying to cross the river.
* The bridge itself was temporarily closed but reopened later on Sunday to rail traffic.
* The barge was carrying about 80,000 gallons of crude oil. While officials are unsure of how much actually spilled into the river, officials believe the amount to be much less and crews are working to transfer the remaining oil to a different barge, according to the Jackson Clarion Ledger.
* So far, an oily sheen has been reported as far as three miles down the river from the site of the accident.
* There is currently no indication as to when the river will be reopened to barge traffic.
* The Associated Press reported that the barges are owned by Third Coast Towing LLC, based in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the tugboat is owned by Nature's Way Marine LLC of Theodore, Ala.
* In addition to using boom, crews are also using a rotating skimmer to collect the oil off the top of the water but do not know exactly how much of the oil has been recovered so far.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.
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