Towboat Accident Followup

May  19, 2014

      A towboat accident in the Mississippi River last fall may not have caused any long-term environmental damage. That's the conclusion of the Iowa DNR after a visit to LeClaire this spring.

      Jeff Thomann, an environmental specialist from the DRN field office in Washington, Iowa, went to the site a month ago where the towboat, Stephen Colby, hit a rock on November 25th, and spilled diesel fuel into the river. He found no fuel residue along the shoreline, and in downtown LeClaire where the de-contamination work was done. 

      And he gives a lot of credit for the cleanup to the owner of the towboat, Marquette Transportation Company, based in Paducah, Kentucky. 

      "They hired very good companies for the cleanup crew and they were very concerned with what went wrong and wanted to make sure everything looked the same as it did before the accident happened."

      When the towboat sank it was carrying 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel. It was patched, the fuel removed, and then it was towed away two weeks later. 

      Thomann says as far as the Iowa DNR is concerned, the investigation is finished. But a report on the accident by the Coast Guard has not yet been completed. Also involved were the US EPA, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Illinois DNR.