Barge Owners: Human Error Caused Ohio River Fertilizer Spill

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CINCINNATI (AP) – A barge that cracked in half on the Ohio River released more than 400,000 gallons (1.5 million liters) of fertilizer, and now the boat’s owners say “human error” caused the spill.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Wednesday that Kentucky issued three environmental violation notices in January for the spill to the Memphis, Tennessee company that owns the barge. Southern Towing released information at Kentucky’s request saying a tankerman unloaded the fertilizer Dec. 19 in a way that weight became concentrated in the middle of the barge.

The river’s current took the plume of fertilizer from Cincinnati to Louisville. Southern Towing’s Feb. 21 response to Kentucky denied the company violated the state’s water statutes.

Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John Mura says the state hasn’t yet determined whether to fine Southern Towing.