MUSC claims responsibility for oil leak into Charleston Harbor - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

MUSC claims responsibility for oil leak into Charleston Harbor

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – A malfunctioning rooftop fuel pump on MUSC's Institute of Psychiatry was the cause of an oil spill over the weekend, officials at the medical university said Monday. 

According to the Medical University, the rooftop generator failed to shut off and leaked diesel fuel into a storm drain that empties into the river. MUSC's physical plant employees turned off the generator when the problem was found and called the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. 

Crews are still working to find out how much oil spilled and what caused the leak.

The U.S. Coast Guard spent the weekend cleaning up pollution from MUSC that caused a thick, purple sheen in the water at three Lowcountry marinas. According to Coast Guard officials, the purple diesel-type sheen was found at Bristol, Ashley River, and Charleston City marinas Saturday night by a boater who keeps his vessel at one of the locations. 

Coast Guard crews said early Sunday morning that the oil seems to be staying mainly in the boat slips and not spreading, but there is a light sheen in the Ashley River. Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Nichols, the command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Charleston, said he expects that sunlight Sunday to further burn off the sheen.

"The heaviest pockets of product are within City Marina, and a mile-long and quarter-mile wide sheen is visible in the Ashley River from the Highway 17 bridge to Tradd Street," a Sunday morning release read.

Officials responded to the initial call at 6:20 p.m., they said, and other calls have come in since reporting the spill. The Coast Guard worked overnight to determine the source of the pollution and how much there is.

Coast Guard officials are using the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, a federal assistance account, to facilitate a quick clean-up. However, heavy overnight rains dissipated the oily sheen, making the use of the fund unnecessary, Coast Guard officials said. 

At Charleston City Marina, the dock master deployed boom to try and contain the oil, officials said. 

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