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Fuel spill in Pawcatuck River is contained

Westerly – A leak of diesel fuel into the Pawcatuck River Monday and Tuesday has been stopped, and the source identified as a boat docked at the Westerly Marina, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management officials said this morning.

Fuel-absorbing booms have been placed around the vessel, Gail Mastrati, DEM spokeswoman said. The fuel had apparently leaked into the vessel’s bilge and spilled into the river when the owner started pumping out the bilge, she said. The owner was not aware of the diesel fuel leak, she said. While the exact amount of leaked fuel could not be determined, it appeared to be a relatively small amount, Mastrati said. She said she was unsure whether any warnings or fines were issued to the boat owner.

The fuel is expected to evaporate quickly in today’s sunny weather, she added.

The spill was first discovered on Monday, prompting response from the Westerly and Pawcatuck fire departments, the DEM and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. The Rhode Island fire and environmental management crews returned to the scene Tuesday evening when the spill recurred.


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