Cleanup Nearly Complete At Deer Creek Reservoir

Jun 3, 2019

Credit Utah Highway Patrol

A tanker truck carrying butane crashed into Deer Creek Reservoir last week, Wasatch County officials say that the cleanup is nearly complete.

On Tuesday, May 28th, a tanker truck hauling butane was traveling towards Provo Canyon on route 189. The truck drove past the Charleston turnoff and missed the upcoming corner due to high speeds. The truck then crashed into Deer Creek Reservoir. No one was injured in the crash, but crews immediately went to work to get the truck out of the lake and cleanup the water.

Now, about a week later crews are getting closer to wrapping up the cleanup project. Wasatch County Health Department Public Information Officer Chris Smoot says there was a minor amount of butane detected in the area, but the majority of the cleanup has been focused on diesel fuel that spilled into the reservoir. Cleanup crews were able to contain the spill to a small area near the crash. Officials are asking recreationalists to avoid the area.

“That area has been greatly reduced," Smoot said. "There’re actually still the barriers in the water around where the wreck was that still containing some of the fuel as cleanup continues. So that's the area that we’d like people to avoid, but the rest of the reservoir is just fine.”

Smoot says that it appears that cleanup has gone very well.

“We have taken some samples," Smoot explained. "We haven't gotten the results back yet from the samples we took on Friday, but just visual inspections it seems like most of the fuel has been reduced or eliminated, cleaned up from the area. So, there's no real visible sheen from diesel fuel. Ultimately, we won't know until we get the test results back on the water samples, but it seems like cleanup has gone really well.”

Smoot explains how the barrier prevented the nearly 200 gallons of diesel fuel from dissipating into the rest of the lake.

“Typically, the diesel fuel will float on the surface which is a benefit for cleaning up," Smoot continued. "It will eventually dissolve into the water, the part that doesn't evaporate off, but that takes some time. In order to clean this up they put up a barrier called the curtain boom which goes down into the water. I'm not sure the size of these booms—if they go down two feet, three feet I'm not sure—but those contain the fuel from drifting out to the rest of the reservoir. Then they have an absorbent boom, which is made up of an absorbent material kind of like cotton and other absorbent materials that soaks up the fuel. They're using both of those types of barriers in the area. The curtain to contain it so it doesn't spread further and then the absorbent to soak it up.”

The health department expressed their appreciation for support as they finish the cleanup.

“Appreciate everyone’s patience in working with us," Smoot said. "We're hoping to get this cleaned up as soon as possible. The company that was hired to do the cleanup seems to be doing a good job. We're making sure that we get all this fuel down to non-detectable levels.”