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Water | Ecotrope

Barge still leaking oil into the Columbia

Workers were trying to stabilize a derelict vessel leaking oil in the Columbia River today so divers can remove all remaining oil.

The 431-foot Davy Crockett – a World War II Liberty ship that was converted to a barge –broke from its mooring and went aground near Camas, Wash., Jan. 20. The owner had been ordered to remove oil and garbage from the vessel, so the U.S. Coast Guard thought it was safe. But now officials say there must have been a hidden compartment no one knew about because on Thursday, a 15-mile-long stream of oil leaked out of the barge and into the Columbia River.

50 different agencies are responding to the incident - including the Washington Department of Ecology and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The Columbian reports about 1,200 gallons of oil have been recovered since work began last week.

Washington Ecology measured a small amount of the toxic industrial compound PCB, about three parts per million, in oil from the engine room but officials say it is not an immediate health threat.

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