A barge was lodged against the K & I Railroad Bridge last night, leaking hot asphalt and diesel fuel into the Ohio River
, as reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal.
It was one of three barges that broke loose from their tow January 26 near McAlpine Locks, with two going over the dam's spillway.
The Sherman Minton Bridge was closed briefly about 7:30 p.m, but reopened minutes later, when it appeared the barge was sinking. The barge was buckling, turned on its side against two pilings of the K & I.
People who live near the area were complaining of diesel fumes. Tests showed the concentration of diesel to be one part per million. Levels would have to reach 200 or 300 parts per million to cause health concerns
Authorities couldn't tell how much diesel or asphalt had leaked into the river because of darkness. The barge carried 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel used to power heaters that keep the asphalt at a constant liquid temperature. Each of the three barges was carrying about 19,500 barrels of asphalt -- each barrel holding 42 gallons of asphalt.
The three barges, each about 80 feet long, were approaching the locks when a connecting cable broke or separated, sending them in three directions. One barge came to rest near the tip of Shippingport Island and was recaptured. The second was caught after it went over the spillway of the dam. The third initially hit an LG&E power facility, freed itself and was carried downriver over the spillway. It then hit the K &I bridge.
(Source: Louisville Courier-Journal)