Oil in Lake Pontchartrain; New Containment Vessel Partially Linked to Well

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Lake Pontchartrain north of New Orleans is the latest site where oil from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico is appeared.

The lake was rescued from pollution in 1990s and had once again become a bountiful fishing ground and a popular spot for boating and swimming.

Cleanup crews used nets to collect tar balls from marinas and docks yesterday.

Meanwhile, officials say they'll know soon whether a new containment vessel is properly connected to the gushing well head in the Gulf of Mexico.

Retired Coast Guard Rear Adm. Thad Allen didn't indicate how soon the Helix Producer could begin moving oil, but says the connection can be maintained unless severe weather moves in.

The 528-foot, nearly 2,300-ton vessel can collect up to 25,000 barrels of oil a day. That would double the amount being collected, then burned or transferred to other tankers.

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