Chemical spill shuts part of St. Lawrence
Published July 27th, 2004
BROCKVILLE — A chemical spill shut down part of the St.
Lawrence Seaway today after a barge ran aground near Alexandria
Officials closed the seaway between Cape Vincent, N.Y.,
and the Prescott anchorage around 6:30 a.m, docking six
ships for most of the day.
Preliminary reports from the scene suggested the steering
mechanism on the tugboat Salvor malfunctioned. Cables
connecting the tugboat to the barge then snapped, sending
the barge into nearby rocks.
Adina Juster, vice-president at the St. Lawrence Seaway
Management Corp., said about 50,000 litres of calcium
chloride leaked from the barge into the water.
Officials said the chemical, used to melt ice on roads
and control dust, is "non-toxic" and doesn't
pose a threat to people or the environment.
The spill only affected the American side of the seaway.
Juster said some traffic would resume later today.
"The plan seems to be to let the first upbound ship
pass," said Juster. "We don't want to disturb
the waters too much around the barge. We don't want the
leaks to continue."
The Canadian-owned and operated tug and barge were on
their way from Amherstburg, Ont., to Montreal.
Officials from environmental monitoring agencies on both
sides of the border were on site.
No one was injured in the incident.