Division of Environmental Quality

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Provides Services Valuable To Your Life, Health and Community

Oil Pipeline Leak in the Mississippi River

In August 2003, a 300- to 400-yard-long oil slick erupted in the Mississippi River when an oil company was working on an abandoned pipeline north of St. Louis. The oil remaining in the pipeline was forced out when the company filled the pipeline with concrete.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene to assess the amount of oil spilled and oversee the cleanup. As a precaution, the department's Environmental Emergency Response Unit (EER) notified the Public Drinking Water Program, which in turn, notified a Chain of Rocks intake station that supplies water to the city of St. Louis.

Approximately two barrels of oil was spilled and cleaned up. EER staff commended the company for using its available resources to quickly cleanup the spill.

The initial release site of the oil slick is marked by the buoy.

The initial release site of the oil slick is marked by the buoy.

Oil washes up on a nearby beach.

Oil washes up on a nearby beach.

Cleanup with pads

The beach is cleaned up using oil absorbing pads.

Booms in place protect barges.

Booms are put in place to protect barges near the spill. The oil could have
contaminated the barge's hull. If the barge was not protected, oil could have
been carried up and down the river attached to the hull.