Employees of Tower Rock Stone Company of St. Genevieve, Missouri and parent company Luhr Brothers, Inc. observed a sheen on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River at approximately 0630 hours on the morning of Friday, February 3, 2006. A heavy fog blanketed the region that morning. Mike Draves, River Superintendent for Luhr Brothers, boarded a company tug boat, the Patricia B. (pilot: Mike Browning), and pushed off to investigate. The sheen was observed to extend at least half way across the Mississippi River at mile marker 127, just upriver from Tower Rock Stone Company’s operation. Mr. Draves reported that an employee of Southern Illinois Sand Dock of Chester (contact: Bruce Brown), Illinois had communicated with him, reporting to have observed the spill down river in Chester as well. Mr. Draves called the National Response Center (NRC) to report the incident. NRC Incident Report #787115 reports the call was taken at 0802 hours CST.
The Region VII EPA Spill Phone Duty Officer (OSC Sweet) contacted OSC Smith at approximately 0900 hours on the morning of the event, requesting a response to the incident. At approximately 1045 hours, OSC Smith arrived on-scene and met with Mr. Draves and proceeded to investigate the shoreline of the Mississippi along the western bank near mile marker 127. OSC Smith observed a slight sheen trapped in a large eddy behind a shored barge. There were also signs of sheen upwelling occasionally in the free flowing river. No other significant sheen was observed at mile marker 127 by OSC Smith.
OSC Smith boarded the Patricia B. with Mr. Draves and traveled up river between mile marker 127 and 128.9, past the confluence of Establishment Creek. No significant sheen was observed on the river or along the banks or backwaters of the various streams and tributaries that enter into the Mississippi River’s western banks along that stretch.
There were three southbound vessels reported to pass by mile marker 127 on the morning of the event. They were: Charlotte, southbound at 0842 hours, owned by Kirby; Lydia E. Campbell, southbound at 0853, owned by Canal Barge Line; and Deana Ann, southbound at 0921, owned by Marquette Transportation.
Neither the source of the sheen nor the responsible party is known at this time. The individuals that OSC Smith interviewed at Tower Rock Stone Company believe the source to be petroleum contaminated bilge water pumped from a northbound vessel. The event would have had to occur somewhere upriver of mile marker 127. Mr. Draves indicated that this type of activity was common a few years ago until it was rumored that the Coast Guard was interested and would be taking action against those caught in the act.
There are no planned Removal Actions for this event.
At this time no further action is anticipated regarding this event.