Overturned barge damages fuel line in Harrison Bay, clean-up und - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Overturned barge damages fuel line in Harrison Bay, clean-up underway

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A week after a barge capsized on Harrison Bay, the eyesore is still causing trouble on the water.    

Not only did the barge capsize, it spilled fuel and oil, leaving a mess. Now an emergency response team is trying to figure out a plan to clean it up.

Officials say the barge capsized sometime last week and when it did,  it damaged the dock's main fuel line. Hamilton County Hazmat crews have been working countless hours to try to contain the spillage ever since. For days crews have tried to remove the barge from the water.
"Mainly it's just a big eyesore and it's an inconvenience because we can't use the dock," said Captain Darrell Bailey. 
"Right now you can't even put boats in the here, or bring boats in," said boater Bob Hicks. 

Boaters at Harrison Bay Marina are frustrated. The fuel line is damaged, the dock is closed to boater traffic and the overturned barge has been this way for a week.

 "Not being able to use the ramp is really tough because the locals depend on this," said Bailey. "I'm seeing a lot of bass fisherman getting out here and waiting to come in and they can't... it's been a big, big inconvenience."

Officials say there's no easy fix for removing the barge, owned by Crystal Springs Builder. 

"They've been doing a lot of pulling and tugging... I think they've gotten it turned up a couple of times then the truck sitting on the barge made it turn back over," said Hicks.

Divers, rope teams and bobcats have been deployed for days, still no luck. Officials say the weather has only added to the delay. 

 "Yea with the wind blowing... it's got a truck on top of the barge which has made it really hard," said Bailey. 

The damaged fuel-line has been shut off. Hamilton County Hazmat crews contained the spill.

"Sunday, you could see fuel on the water," said Hicks. "It was calmer than it is now."

The water inside the containment ring is being treated with 200- feet of absorbent boom. TDEC officials say they've tested the area and there's no real danger to the environment or public. 

"It was upside down, now it's almost right side up again, so hopefully it will be over soon," said Bailey. 

Hazmat officials say as soon as the barge is removed from the water, TDEC officials will come in to re-test the water to make sure everything is safe before anything is re-opened. Officials say the time line of that will likely depend on the weather. On-site managers say it's unclear when the fuel line for this dock will be fixed. Park officials are asking boaters to have patience.

Officials say they are still trying to determine exactly how barge sunk in the first place. Area businesses there have also suffered a loss with the loss of business. The company that owns the barge is being held responsible for cleanup.

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