Oil spill in Savannah River bigger than first anticipated


SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A Coast Guard official said Saturday that an oil spill this month in the Savannah River has turned out to be much larger than originally thought after two weeks of assessment.

Petty Officer Bobby Nash, a spokesman for the Coast Guard District 7, said the spill is estimated to be between 20,000 and 22,000 gallons, about 15,000 gallons more than the previous estimate.

Nash said the source of the July 17 spill that shut down a 12-mile stretch of the river and part of the Intracoastal Waterway remains unknown. But the Coast Guard has ruled out the possibility that it came from pipelines and facilities.

"We believe the source is a vessel," he said. "We haven't narrowed it down to a specific number of vessels."

Without a known origin for the spill, the Coast Guard has faced difficulties in assessing its size and impact, Nash said.

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