17 miles of Mississippi River closed after oil spill - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

17 miles of Mississippi River closed after oil spill

Mississippi River in Columbus, Ky. (Source: Matt Fluegge/KFVS) Mississippi River in Columbus, Ky. (Source: Matt Fluegge/KFVS)
PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) -

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating a towboat collision on the Mississippi River near Columbus, Ky. that shut down 17 miles of the river.

Two towboats collided at the 937 mile marker Sept. 2 at 8:22 p.m.

One barge had clarified slurry oil. A cargo tank ruptured and spilled more than 120,000 gallons of oil in the Mississippi River.

The river is closed to all traffic except response vessels in a safety zone between mile markers 939-922.

As of Friday at 10:50 a.m., 23 vessels were awaiting transit down the river and 10 were awaiting transit up the river.

Responders are assessing the river and the water column to determine where the oil is and the best tactics to clean it up.

Slurry oil is a residual product from the refining process. When spilled, it tends to clump together and sink or become suspended in the water column, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Sediment in the Mississippi River has the potential to stick to the oil droplets and some oil-sediment may settle at the bottom of the river. Learn how an oil spill in a river is different that in the ocean.

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