Sunken Tug Leaves Oil Sheen on Petaluma River

Tuesday, Sep 7, 2010  |  Updated 12:45 PM PDT
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Sunken Tug Leaves Oil Sheen on Petaluma River

Robert Wellington

The sheen had mostly evaporated by Monday evening, but authorities are monitoring the area to see if the spill is affecting any wildlife.

Crews with the state Department of Fish and Game worked overnight to remove oil from a tugboat that leaked up to 600 gallons of fuel into the Petaluma River on Monday, a spokeswoman said.

The spill, which was reported at about 8:15 a.m. Monday, came from a 60-foot, 90-ton tugboat that was in the process of being salvaged, Department of Fish and Game spokeswoman Alexia Retallack said.

Between 200 to 600 gallons of lube oil spilled into the river, creating a two-mile sheen that stretched from Hopper Street to U.S. Highway 101. A vacuum truck was brought in to suck the remaining oil off the boat late Monday night and early this morning, Retallack said.

The sheen had mostly evaporated by Monday evening, but authorities are monitoring the area to see if the spill is affecting any wildlife. No adverse effects had been reported as of this morning, Retallack said.

Anyone who sees wildlife on the shores of the river near the spill is asked to call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 877-UCD-OWCN rather than try to help the animal.

Crews are still investigating what caused leak, and have placed absorbent boom in the water to remove the oil and stop the sheen from spreading, Retallack said.

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