Barge Leak Stopped

Friday, August 19, 2005
The U.S. Coast Guard, working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and local officials, report that the sulfuric acid that began leaking from a barge in Chocolate Bayou Wednesday appears to have stopped leaking.

Officials monitored the amount of product in the barge MGM3030, as well as the level of the barge in the water and the pH levels around the, throughout Wednesday night and into this morning and concluded that the barge was not leaking.

Approximately 358,000 gallons of the original 430,000 gallons of acid cargo has been offloaded from the barge .

Efforts to remove the remaining acid and water mixture from the barge are expected to continue into Friday.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists continue to monitor the situation and will advise the incident command team regarding potential impacts to fish and wildlife resources. The extent of the spill and its impact on wildlife are still being determined but are believed to be minimal.

The Chocolate Bayou area is considered ecologically important because it has significant wetlands and marshes that provide habitat for waterbirds, wildlife and many species of fish. Estuaries like Chocolate Bayou, where freshwater meets saltwater from the sea, are among the most important ecological features on the Texas coast, providing "nursery" areas that form the foundation of the coastal food chain.

The Coast Guard, TCEQ, TPWD, Brazoria County Office of Emergency Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Scientific Support Coordinator, and Brazoria County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol are on scene overseeing the response and recovery efforts. T&T Marine has been hired by Martin Product Sales for operational response.

Monday evening the barges' starboard bow was partially submerged and resting on the bottom. Coast Guard investigators from Marine Safety Unit Galveston, Texas, were on scene gathering information to determine the cause of the accident.

The tank barge MGM3030 and the cargo are owned by Martin Product Sales.

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