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8,000 gallons of toxic chemicals spill into Ohio River

Story Highlights

A barge hit an underwater dam, Coast Guard said
There's no threat to public drinking water, officials said
Cumene, a solvent used to produce other chemicals, was spilled
Experts determining the environmental impact of the spill
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BROOKPORT, Illinois (CNN) -- As many as 8,000 gallons of a toxic solvent spilled into the Ohio River Wednesday after a barge hit an underwater dam, Coast Guard and Illinois state officials told CNN.

Lt. Wayne Chapman of the U.S. Coast Guard said the barge, owned by Kirby Marine, hit the wicket dam, which is a type of movable dam, near Brookport and began leaking cumene, a solvent used to produce other chemicals.

So far, officials said, there's no threat to public drinking water. Water intake stations along the river have not reported finding the chemical in their systems, Chapman said.

The solvent floats on top of water and easily evaporates, he added.

Maggie Carson of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency told CNN's Fredricka Whitfield that experts are trying to determine the environmental impact of the spill.

"There's a tremendous volume of water going through there, so there's a dilution factor, and this will be taken into consideration as they try to take measures to contain it," she said.

Kirby Marine is working to get another barge to the site to offload the rest of the cumene from the ruptured barge, Chapman said.

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