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Diesel Spill Cleanup Expected to Take Weeks, Possibly Months

The cleanup of a diesel leak outside the Dubuque city limits could take weeks or even months. That’s the word from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which is monitoring the cleanup efforts. The leak was detected on Monday morning at a BP diesel storage facility that’s been described as being near Peosta. But in reality, the facility is just outside Dubuque’s western city limits, less than a mile from the county fairgrounds. It’s being estimated that about 20,000 gallons of diesel was spilled, and some of it ended up in Catfish Creek. Tom McCarthy, an environmental specialist with the DNR, says BP is now taking steps to retrieve the diesel and minimize its impact on the creek. McCarthy believes the leak will mostly impact birds and mammals that live near the creek, and not the fish in the water. But Brian Preston of the Dubuque County Conservation Board isn’t so sure. He says past diesel spills have affected local fish populations. Preston estimates it will be months before the creek is back to normal. McCarthy wouldn’t put a timeline on the cleanup, saying it will take “some time.”

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