TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Salvage crews have begun an underwater operation to pump a hazardous oil-based substance from a sunken barge that apparently had been sitting undiscovered on the bottom of Lake Erie for nearly 80 years.
Crews have been monitoring the site near the U.S.-Canadian border since discovering a small leak in October that appeared to be coming from a barge called the Argo that sank during a storm in 1937.
A statement by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which are overseeing the project, says the first of Argo's eight tanks was tapped Saturday.
The wreckage is one of 87 shipwrecks on a federal registry that identifies the most serious pollution threats to U.S. waters.
The Coast Guard has been keeping boaters away from the area.