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Mississippi Testing Continues After Dubuque Spill

Derailed Train Leaked 55K Gallons Of Ethanol

photolibrarian (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Officials are still trying to figure out how a train derailment near Dubuque, Iowa, this month has affected the Mississippi River’s ecosystem, after 55,000 gallons of ethanol spilled from rail cars.

Higher levels of ethanol are still being detected at the crash site and low levels have been found downstream.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said they will continue monitoring the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge through the spring and until water samples show the site is entirely cleaned up.

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Rich King, the refuge’s McGregor District manager, said it’s unclear if there have been major fish kills since the river is frozen over. He said they’re testing mussels found in the area, which is home to endangered varieties.

“And if the ethanol levels were high enough for long enough, it could potentially impact species on the bottom of the river, like mayflies, which could indirectly affect birds by less food being available for them,” said King.

Rail traffic is moving once again on the Canadian Pacific line where the derailment occurred.