By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Highway 22 near Idanha will be closed until Friday or Saturday after a tanker truck crashed Sunday, spilling about 7,800 gallons of fuel – some of which was released into the North Santiam River, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.
“Fuel is discharging from the bank of the North Santiam River and a sheen is visible for a few hundred feet downstream of the crash site,” according to a release from the DEQ. It’s unclear just how much fuel spilled into the river.
Crews began excavating contaminated material this morning and will evaluate disposal options, the DEQ said.
“We don’t have an estimate of how much went into the river,” said Harry Esteve, a spokesman with the DEQ. “It’s safe to say that most spilled into the soil and we are excavating the soil and doing all we can to prevent more from seeping into the river.”
ODOT is working at the site along with the DEQ, federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hazmat specialists Northwest Firefighters and a construction contractor working for ODOT. Motorists traveling to and from the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon can use U.S. 20 and OR 126E as alternative routes
Oregon DEQ reports the truck, owned by Space Age Fuel, was carrying 10,600 gallons of fuel in two tanks when it crashed on the snow-covered roads Sunday morning. The trailer tank held 6,500 gallons of gasoline while the truck tank held 4,100 gallons of diesel.
“About 400 feet of hard boom and other absorbent materials are in the river to contain and collect fuel. DEQ will continue to monitor potential impacts to fish and wildlife at and downstream of the site. There have been no reports of impacts to drinking water supplies in the area,” according to the DEQ.
The river provides drinking water for nearby towns and the city of Salem. The crash happened about 70 miles east of Salem.
Highway 22 will remain closed to through traffic from just west of Idanha to the junction with U.S. 20 (milepost 53-81) until at least Friday or Saturday of this week. This morning, ODOT was able to assess the damage and determined that it will take several days to remove contaminated soil and repair the road where the truck crashed.
ODOT says about 600 feet of road needs to be excavated and rebuilt.
A hazardous materials team and emergency cleanup crew from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality were on the scene to pump remaining fuel out of the truck and to prevent more fuel from entering the river. The highway remains closed in both directions at milepost 68 as crews work to contain the site.
OSP Spokesman Tim Fox said the driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Photos from Oregon State Police