Testing for ethanol in Mississippi continues - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Testing for ethanol in Mississippi continues

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Courtesy Iowa DNR Courtesy Iowa DNR
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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Iowa's Department of Natural Resources will be testing for ethanol in the Mississippi for "quite some time," according to Scott Gritters, a fisheries biologist with the DNR.

This coming days after a train derailment about 10 miles north of Dubuque spilled an unknown amount of ethanol into the river.

DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins says the highest levels of ethanol have been detected nearest the site where 14 cars containing the fuel went off the tracks Wednesday in a remote area north of Dubuque.

Baskins says ethanol dissipated fairly quickly in the first mile downstream, with fuel levels undetectable 10 miles away.

Gritters said it's hard to assess the damage done to life in the river, because ice covers most of it.

"There are only a few open holes where we could see if fish were floating in them," he said.

He also said they'll continue to test for quite a few days. 

Officials say they're still unsure how much ethanol spilled into the Mississippi, but Baskins says the approximately 55,000 gallons that remain unaccounted for were involved in a three-car fire, pooled over an acre of ice, soaked into soil in the area and leaked into the river.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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