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More Oil Leaking from Barge Involved in Mississippi River Oil Spill

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The barge involved in the Mississippi River oil spill released more fuel oil yesterday, forcing closure of the river to traffic for about six hours. News of the new leak also heightened concerns over the safety of water supplies in nearby communities. According to the Coast Guard, yesterday’s oil leak was the result of a three-foot drop in the river’s level that allowed the barge to shift. Unfortunately, yesterday’s incident is not likely to be the last time the barge leaks toxic fuel into the river.

“These burps may happen again, ” Coast Guard Capt. Lincoln Stroh, who oversees the Port of New Orleans, told the Times-Picayune. “Only until we secure that barge and pump out or suck the fuel out of that barge will it stop.”

Meanwhile, residents of several downstream communities were again worried about the safety of their drinking water. Water intakes for New Orleans’ Algiers neighborhood, as well as those for St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes were closed for several hours after the latest oil leak. Many residents of those communities are continuing to exhibit caution, as area convenience stores continue to report brisk sales of bottled water.

It could be many more days before the barge is finally removed from the Mississippi. Before that happens, the remaining oil must be removed from the vessel. So far, divers’ efforts to get that process underway have been hindered by strong currents and poor visibility.

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