Tanker Crash Spills Thousands of Gallons of Oil into River
CARBON COUNTY, Utah – A crashed tanker truck spilled thousands of gallons of oil along U.S. Highway 6 and into the Price River in Carbon County late Thursday night.
The accident happened around 9:45 p.m. in a construction zone near the exit for Carbonville. Investigators with the Utah Highway Patrol say the driver of the tanker was heading eastbound but switched over to the westbound lanes and into oncoming traffic in the moments before the crash.
“Whether he just got confused with the barrel set up or followed a vehicle that was taking the exit, he ended up in the westbound lanes,” said Highway Patrol Lt. Steve Salas. “He ended up hitting the concrete bridge and that’s how he overturned.”
The impact severely damaged the main tank of the Maverik Tesoro truck, allowing approximately 8,000 gallons of waxy crude oil to spill onto the roadway, according to the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement, firefighters and hazmat crews quickly responded and tried to contain spill but not before an estimated 1,000 gallons flowed into the Price River.
“A couple of our hazmat techs, that are actually road deputies, got here quick and did great mitigation efforts to protect it from going further into the waterway,” said Whitney Waterfall, public information officer for the sheriff’s office.
Hazmat workers placed several booms downstream from the accident to collect the oil. Drinking water for the area is safe, according to Waterfall, because the intake for the water treatment plant is upriver from where the oil entered the water.
In a statement, the sheriff’s office said that representatives from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are on scene and monitoring the levels of contamination along the river.
A smaller tank containing 4,000 gallons of oil—attached behind the main tank that ruptured—also tipped on its side but did not spill oil Waterfall said.
As of noon Friday, a three-mile stretch of Highway 6 remained closed between Carbonville and Price.
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