NASHVILLE, the United States, May 4 (Xinhua) -- A potentially damaging oil leak was found Tuesday in flood ravaged Nashville, capital of southern U.S. state Tennessee, and authorities were working to contain it.
The oil leak was found in flood waters near a Metro Water Services Biosolids Facility on the bank of Cumberland River.
Xinhua reporters at the scene saw workers in Metro Water Services uniforms laying fabric-like material and boom in the water and on the shore. The slick has darkened grass on the shore.
Workers at the scene said they are not authorized to speak to media, and phone calls to Metro Water Services went unanswered.
Rachel Vance, a spokeswomen with Nashville Emergency Operations center, which is responsible for responding to the floods that has killed 10 people in Nashville since Saturday, confirmed to Xinhua it was indeed an oil leak, and authorities were still trying to determine its origin.
"The fabric like material was meant to absorb the oil," she said, adding the Metro Water Services was focused to "clean it up."
"They don’t know why yet, they are just trying to get a remedy as quickly as possible,”she said, noting more information could become available Wednesday.
The Coast Guard was assisting local authorities in their efforts. Jason Kuriaen, a Coast Guard member said they are trying to identify the source of the spill, as local workers focused on mitigating the impact of the oil spill.
He said the spill seemed to be a mixture of waste oil and oily sludge, and they are still in the process of making contact with companies in the area and gathering information.
Kuriaen explained that if the waste oil finds its way into the river, it could harm local environment.
“We are trying to prevent the oil from impacting the river.”
The United States is responding to a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which President Barack Obama has said could become an unprecedented environmental disaster.