Traffic and safety concerns were top of mind Tuesday afternoon in the Heber Valley, when a tanker truck hauling butane crashed into Deer Creek Reservoir.
The tanker truck was traveling from Heber City towards Provo Canyon when it passed Charleston Road. Wasatch County Fire Department Public Information Officer Janet Carson said the truck was going a bit too fast for the upcoming turn.
“He did say he was going a little faster than he should've been," Carson explained. "He hit the corner, didn't realize how sharp it was and went down off into the reservoir. Usually there's quite a few vehicles and fisherman down off the shore it was pretty quiet, so it was all clear and there was not anybody else.”
Wasatch County Fire Department Hazmat, and later hired cleanup crews, were on hand. No butane leaked into the lake after the crash but the truck's diesel fuel tank, containing about 200 gallons, did leak.
“He had one tank full of butane that’s still intact and then an empty PUP behind that," Carson continued. "It was off-gassing, but the driver did say it was empty. So, we're thinking that it was just the pressure from inside the tank that was off-gassing into the water.”
Crews worked to contain the diesel fuel and remove the tank from out of the water. Carson explains what would happen if the butane and diesel were not cleaned up.
“Butane is a gas," Carson said. "Most of it would dissipate, but the research we've done found that not all of it will dissipate. There will be some that will become soluble with the water. What you'll see is a slick on the top of the water if there's diesel on the water. So, they're just tracking to see how far it's gone and what they need to do to get it cleaned up. We want to make sure that's all cleaned up because we don't want that contaminated water in the reservoir.”
Crews would most likely be working on the cleanup through Wednesday.
“Central Utah Water, they’re here working on it," Carson explained. "They're taking some samples to see if there's any contaminants in the water. I would imagine we’ll still be here tomorrow working on it.”
Carson said that traffic could be impacted at various times so she suggested travelers take alternate routes if they can.
Officials are working to make sure school children are able to travel to and from Wallsburg.