A group of barges crashed into a railroad bridge Sunday, spilling an estimated 40,000 gallons of gasoline into the Ohio River, authorities said.

Seven barges carrying fuel for the Ashland Oil Co. broke away for their towboat and struck a bridge piling, said Greg Gunnell, a petty officer for the U.S. Coast Guard in Cincinnati.Authorities said that since the river was high and the water was flowing more quickly than usual, the possibility of environmental damage was minimal.

The incident occurred just west of Cincinnati below the water intake for the city's water system, and the fuel was flowing toward Indiana and Kentucky, Gunnell said.