Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday there was “no indication of lingering water quality impacts to the North St. Vrain Creek,” following a semi tanker rollover Tuesday that spilled 500 to 1,000 gallons of gasoline.
Dana Barnicoat, EPA Region 8 public information officer, said that EPA is continuing to work at the spill site, evaluating site conditions and processing sampling results. In a phone interview Thursday, Barnicoat said agency partners are expected to be there throughout the weekend. Barnicoat said the EPA had been collecting water samples at multiple locations.
An EPA news release Thursday said that: “Preliminary sampling results do not detect contamination in these locations and we do not anticipate impacts to wells at this time.”
The EPA sampled the water for compounds that naturally occur in gasoline. This included benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, which were all below EPA’s drinking water standards, and gasoline-range organics, which were “slightly above the detection near the accident but was not detected further downstream,” the release said.
“These data suggest the pulse of gasoline that was discharged to the creek has dissipated and there is no indication of a lingering water quality impact to the North Saint Vrain Creek,” the release said.
The EPA said Wednesday evening that the source of the spill had been contained but warned residents that they may still observe a “slight sheen on the water.” In the aftermath of the spill, Barnicoat said, “significant fish kill,” had been observed three to four miles downstream.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been working to assess the spill’s impact on aquatic species and wildlife. Jason Clay, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson, said the agency still didn’t know how many fish had perished in the aftermath of the spill. Data on the number of fish impacted, he said, will take some time to gather.
“We have some people who have submitted photos to us, which (are) helpful,” Clay said. “Yesterday, we had water quality control experts on site, collecting fish and taking samples.”
Clay had reported that three types of trout were among the fish species found dead: brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout. As of Thursday, Clay said, no new species had been identified among the wildlife casualties, though officials are still gathering data.
The EPA release said Thursday that it still wasn’t known how much of the spilled fuel ended up in the creek. The spilled fuel is reported to have traveled west along a drainage ditch and into a culvert that discharges into the North St. Vrain Creek.
The semi tanker rolled over Tuesday on U.S. 36 just northwest of Lyons, on a curve near Apple Valley Road’s north intersection with the highway. At the time of the crash, the semi tanker was hauling 8,500 gallons of gasoline. The driver was hospitalized with minor injuries. Colorado State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis…