OIL UPDATE: Clean Up Continues

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Environmental specialists are still on the scene in Jefferson, trying to limit the amount of damage done by a massive oil spill reported a week ago.

Last week, a valve on an above ground oil storage tank malfunctioned, spilling used oil and affecting 10 to 15 miles of the North Raccoon River.

Brian Leland grew up fishing on the Raccoon River, and now that he is older, and has moved back to the area, he’s picking up right where he left off. “I fish probably 5 or 6 times a week, it’s kind of ridiculous I know,” Leland laughed about his favorite pastime. And it’s more than just a hobby; before the oil spill, Leland ate what he caught. But now, he just cleans off what he catches and throws them back.

“It’s just a nuisance to look at, I guess, and I'm sure the fish don’t appreciate it much,” said Leland, looking at the film of oil on top of the river’s water.

But things are improving. The EPA is just one group that has been spending time by the river cleaning up, and trying to contain the damage.

“The remainder of the spill is probably the most labor intensive part of the cleanup, because it does involve so much individual hard work and walking every foot of the bank,” said Todd Campbell with the EPA, “The longer you wait with oil, the more diffused it gets, the more mixed with water it gets, so the faster you can get on and get it contained and get it collected, the better off you are obviously from damage to the habitat and the water.

So far, no fish have been found dead, which the DNR says is good news. Two birds have been spotted with oil on them in the area. Wild life officials tried to catch them but were unsuccessful.  They have since set up barriers to keep them away.

The DNR says the water has not been contaminated, and so far there haven't been any advisories sent out to the area regarding the drinking water.

Officials are asking people to use caution in the area, so they don't get any chemicals on their skin.