Minor oil spill from sunken barge, crane could harm wildlife in Tennessee River
First responders were called to the Tennessee River Tuesday afternoon after a barge carrying a truck and crane sank.
Oil and fuel leaked into the water, but have since been contained.
Thom Benson with the Tennessee Aquarium tells Channel 3, the spill could potentially harm aquatic and plant life in the river.
He says spills like this happen more often than people think.
"The more important thing for people to remember is those tiny spills that happen all the time across the Chattanooga add up to a bigger problem throughout the year than a small event like today," Benson said.
Officials say they spotted some oil half a mile down the river.
The coast guard and hazmat crews were able to quickly contain the oil and fuel spill.
Officials don't know how long the crane or truck were in the water, but believe it could have happened several days ago and say it's up to the barge owner to clean up the situation.
Benson says this oil spill would be considered minor compared to recent spills in the past, but it doesn't mean this spill should be taken lightly.
"There could be impacts for any kind of aquatic animal or any kind of vegetation on the surface or what works its way down through the water down to the bottom of the river," Benson said.
He says educating the public on any form of pollution will go a long way in keeping the Tennessee River clean.
Crews are trying to get the crane and truck out of the water.
The Chattanooga Fire Department says they aren't sure how long this process will take, but say they are handling the situation as quickly and safely as possible.
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