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Coast Guard investigates spills at South Carolina marinas

The Coast Guard in South Carolina is continuing to respond to reports of pollution at the Charleston City, Bristol and Ashley River marinas in the Charleston area during the weekend.

Boaters reported pools of thick purple diesel-type product pooling in the marinas Saturday evening.

A decision was made late Saturday night to federalize the response in order to use the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for cleanup, but by Sunday morning most of the product had dissipated and was unrecoverable because of heavy rainfall, so the fund was not needed.

The heaviest pockets were within City Marina, and a mile-long and quarter-mile-wide sheen was visible in the Ashley River from the Highway 17 bridge to Tradd Street. On Sunday morning, City Marina deployed additional boom and absorbent pads.

Responders expected any remaining product to further dissipate or burn off in the sunlight Sunday, said Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Nichols, command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Charleston.

Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen told the Post and Courier newspaper on Sunday evening that the source of the pollution remained unknown, but that whatever caused the chemical spills was not continuing to flow. Jorgensen said the type of chemical that spilled was not known, but it had a "strong diesel odor."

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