Hwy 22 nears reopening after fuel tanker crash; 6,200 tons of contaminated soil removed

The Oregon Department of Transportation on Friday was busy repaving part of Hwy 22 near Idanha after all the fuel-contaminated soil was excavated and removed following a tanker crash there last weekend.

In all, cleanup crews dug up and hauled away about 6,200 tons of contaminated soil along the highway and North Santiam River according to a press release from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The release continued:

Booms and other oil absorbent material will be in place, and tended regularly, as long as a sheen is present on the river.

The booms will also be checked after storms to make sure that they are secure and that any additional discharged fuel will be caught and removed. About 700 feet of hard and sorbent boom are in the river at the spill site. The Unified Command – consisting of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Space Age Fuel – consulted with natural resource agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and has implemented an erosion control plan to keep sediments resulting from the cleanup out of the river.

Water sampling data shows that concentrations of petroleum chemicals in the North Santiam River are far below federal safe drinking water levels, except in the immediate vicinity of the spill site. Concentrations are declining and there has been no reported impact to downstream water users, and no water intakes were closed. The nearest drinking water intake is about 25 miles downstream, below Detroit Lake. Crews will continue to monitor water quality in the river and report to DEQ regularly, and will increase monitoring following storms.

A nearly 30-mile stretch of Hwy 22 was closed all week as the road was repaired and repaved.

The closure stretches from the town of Idanha to the highway’s junction with U.S. 20, east of the crash site.

The spill occurred at about 8 a.m. Feb. 16, when a double tanker truck carrying 10,600 gallons of gasoline and diesel overturned, releasing an estimated 7,800 gallons of petroleum products into the soil at the crash site.

DEQ, EPA and Space Age Fuel, the owner of the tanker, are overseeing the cleanup. Most of the cleanup crews are demobilizing Friday, with the exception of the water quality monitoring team and boom tenders. The team is sampling river water and assessing the riverbank daily, and monitoring groundwater through test wells installed at the spill site.

Agencies central to response support include: the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and NOAA, as well as Marion County, the Oregon Department of Emergency Management, Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Department of the Interior and several downstream municipalities.

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