(Update: ODOT reports 'making progress' on hauling away soil)
IDANHA, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A 28-mile stretch of Oregon Highway 22 east of Idanha to Santiam Junction will be closed until at least Friday or Saturday due to extensive repairs and cleanup needed after Sunday’s double-tanker truck crash that spilled thousands of gallons of fuel, some into a nearby river, ODOT said Monday.
ODOT officials said they assessed the damage and determined it will take several days to remove contaminated soil and repair the highway where the tanker crashed Sunday morning.
“An area of roadway about 600 feet long needs to be completely excavated and rebuilt,” the agency said.
In an update Tuesday afternoon, ODOT said crews were “making progress digging up and hauling away contaminated soil” on the highway, but that it would remain closed to through traffic “at least through Friday.”
ODOT is working at the site with the state Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, hazardous materials specialists Northwest Firefighters and a construction contractor working for ODOT.
Motorists traveling between Central Oregon and the Willamette Valley will have to use U.S. Highway 20 and state Highway 126E as alternative routes until the work is completed, they said.
The DEQ said Tuesday that a workforce comprised of responders and contractors – as well as the responsible party, the tanker’s owner, Space Age Fuel – is working 12-hour shifts to clean up the spill and prevent gasoline and diesel from entering the river
The DEQ had said Monday nearly 7,900 gallons of the gasoline and diesel fuel spilled and the rest was recovered.
“Fuel is discharging from the bank of the North Santiam River and a sheen is visible a few hundred feet downstream of the site,” the DEQ said. “Crews began excavating contaminated material this morning and will evaluate disposal options.”
“The spill was mostly gasoline, with some diesel,” DEQ spokesman Harry Esteve said Monday. “Most went into the soil on the side of the road. An unknown amount has seeped into the river, and we will be sampling and monitoring tomorrow (Tuesday).”
About 400 feet of hard boom and other absorbent materials are in the river to contain and collect fuel. DEQ said it 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.
The EPA’s on-scene coordinator and contractors are providing the water sampling data for hydrocarbon byproducts at two- and four-mile intervals in the North Santiam River downstream of the crash site.
Oregon State Police, ODOT and other emergency personnel responded around 7:40 a.m. Sunday to the crash near milepost 63, about eight miles east of Idanha and nearly 70 miles east of Salem, OSP Capt. Timothy Fox said.
The truck driver was transported with minor injuries, Fox added.
ODOT's TripCheck shows closure of the highway between mileposts 53 and 81, to Santiam Junction.
"There is no easy detour for vehicles traveling eastbound" on the highway, ODOT advised, adding, "This could be a lengthy closure. Travelers will want to avoid the area or use an alternate route."
They suggested U.S. Highway 20 and Oregon Highway 126E as alternative routes for most travelers between the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality advised Sunday afternoon, "An unknown amount (of fuel) was released into the North Santiam River, which provides drinking water for nearby communities and the city of Salem."
DEQ said the trailer tank of the truck, owned by Space Age Fuel, held 6,500 gallons of gasoline, and preliminary indications are that all of it spilled.
The truck tank held 4,100 gallons of diesel, the agency said. By Sunday night, crews had recovered about 2,830 gallons of diesel, but some of the remaining 1,270 gallons reached a roadside ditch and some spilled into the river.
"We are still working to determine how much actually seeped into the river," DEQ spokesman Harry Esteve said Sunday night. "We will know more tomorrow."
Health officials notified downstream drinking water system providers of the spill.
Packed snow was reported near Santiam Junction Sunday morning, with travelers advised to carry chains or traction tires. The snowpack was breaking up near Marion Forks, with slushy conditions reported.
In December 2017, about a mile from Sunday's crash scene, a Redmond man was killed in the fiery rollover crash of his fuel truck on the icy highway and more than 11,000 gallons of unleaded gas spilled, some into the North Santiam River, prompting an extensive cleanup effort.