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Economic and dam related articles

Barge Hauling 1 Million Gallons of
Gas Runs Aground in Columbia Gorge

by Staff
The Oregonian, July 9, 2009

Workers in white hardhats and orange vests check over a barge that ran aground on the Columbia River during the night. (Oregonian photo) A barge hauling 1 million gallons of gasoline has run aground in the Columbia River at the mouth of the Hood River, U.S. Coast Guard officials said this morning.

The Coast Guard is sending an investigation and inspection team to the scene to determine if the barge is leaking fuel. Officials said there's no sign of pollution. The tug and barges involved are operated by Tidewater Barge Lines, which has an office in Vancouver. Company officials could not be reached for comment this morning. According to its web site, Tidewater has several double-hulled barges in which to move petroleum products; double-hulls reduce the likelihood of a spill. It was not immediately clear whether the barge that ran aground this morning is double-hulled.

Tidewater transports grain, petroleum products, wood products and fertilizer the full length of the Columbia and Snake river system.

A tug and four barges -- three of the barges are empty -- ran aground about 3:30 a.m. A Portland-based Coast Guard official said inspectors will try to determine what caused the vessels to run aground.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the ability to raise the water level of the Columbia behind Bonneville Dam by a few feet, which might help lift the barge from where it is grounded. But if the barge is firmly stuck, raising the river might not help, Corps spokesman Matt Rabe said.

A decision on raising the river would rest on an assessment by the Coast Guard and other parties involved, Rabe said.

Barge Hauling 1 Million Gallons of Gas Runs Aground in Columbia Gorge
The Oregonian, July 9, 2009

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