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Oil spill in port sparks big response from authorities

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August 02, 2017

The oil travelled a significant distance downstream. Photo: submitted

Emergency services respond to an oil spill at Riverboat Dock on Monday morning. Photo: Rusty Woodger

AUTHORITIES have launched an investigation after up to 100 litres of oil spilled into the Murray River at the Port of Echuca on Monday.

What could have been a blow to the tourism heart of the town, authorities reacted quickly to minimise the damage.

Emergency services personnel descended on Riverboat Dock, where tourists were gathering to board boats, shortly after 11am to contain the spill, which was coming from a drain on the Victorian side of the river.

CFA district 20 operations manager John Cutting said the oil had travelled a ‘‘significant distance’’ downstream before it was contained at its source.

A NSW Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said the spill was traced to a drain in the Port of Echuca.

‘‘Campaspe Shire council organised for a contractor to pump out and remove any remaining residue from the drain,’’ the spokesperson said.

‘‘Roads and Maritime boating safety officers deployed booms and aerated the remaining film for removal from the water.’’

Environment Protection Authority (EPA) officers attended the leak and took samples of the substance for testing. In a statement, the EPA said there was no significant environmental impact resulting from the spill and the risk to human health was low. Paddlesteamers and other vessels continued to operate on the river while crews worked to contain the oil.

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