Truck accident causes fuel spill near Kenai River

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2001

COOPER LANDING (AP) -- A double tanker truck carrying thousands of gallons of fuel overturned Monday on the Sterling Highway, causing a spill that may have fouled the Kenai River.

The accident occurred near Gwin's Lodge at 1:06 p.m. in Cooper Landing on the Kenai Peninsula. The area is considered to be one of Alaska's premier fishing spots for salmon.

The driver of the Fisher's Fuel Inc. truck sustained minor injuries but refused medical treatment, according to Greg Wilkinson, spokesman for the Alaska State Troopers.

The truck was hauling approximately 1,800 gallons of diesel and about 7,000 gallons of gas when it overturned. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

The truck was equipped with three compartments but the third compartment was empty. The accident damaged the tanks that were carrying fuel, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

About 3 gallons of fuel a minute was leaking into a small pond at the side of the highway. It was not known how much fuel had spilled.

Absorbent booms were placed around the pond in attempts to contain the spill. The pond is about 15 yards wide and 18 yards long, and about 3 to 4 feet deep.

While the spill was being primarily contained to the pond, troopers reported seeing a light sheen on the Kenai River. The river is connected to the pond by a culvert.

The agency was sending cleanup response personnel from both its Anchorage and Kenai offices to the spill site. Plans called for placing absorbent boom in the river as well.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game also was notified.

Wilkinson said the highway would be ''intermittently opened'' while the accident scene was cleared. Traffic was expected to be disrupted for some time because the Big Lake fuel company would have to arrange for replacement tankers to arrive for off-loading fuel from the overturned truck, he said.

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