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Teller County crews continue clean-up efforts after 2,000-gallon diesel spill

Posted at 11:15 PM, May 17, 2023

WOODLAND PARK — The Teller County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) said Wednesday that crews are cleaning up the last bit of contaminated water at the head of Fountain Creek after a diesel spill.

The Teller County OEM said a tanker truck tipped over Tuesday morning and spilled around 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel in downtown Woodland Park. The office said some of the fuel spilled into a nearby storm drain and started to get into Fountain Creek, which is a water supply for several municipalities.

The overturned fuel tanker at Hwy 67 and 24 Tuesday morning. The NE Teller County Fire Protection District said 2,100 gallons of diesel fuel escaped from the ruptured tank. The district said fuel made it to the storm drain system and downstream where it was contained at the East Fork/Fountain Creek junction.

"We've got Manitou, Green Mountain Falls, Fountain, and so on. All of the drinking water intakes are way downstream, miles downstream. This is only going to saturate and affect about a 100 to 150-foot area," said Jay Teague, Director of Teller County OEM.

He said crews built a retention pond with the help of extra snow melt that allowed them to catch the bulk of the spill and keep it from flowing further down Fountain Creek where it becomes drinking water.

However, some Woodland Park residents said they were still concerned about drinking water and the strong smell of diesel still in the air a day later. Teague said a third-party company has tested water samples and has found no water contamination.

"We've successfully removed almost 100% of the material right here where we were we caught it with the retention pond. We are anticipating and confident that we're not going to have a single drop make it out of the city limits of Woodland Park," said Teague.

He said crews are pumping out the contaminated waterways upstream from the retention pond at the head of Fountain Creek and should be done by Wednesday night. Teague said the transport company responsible for the spill called cleanup crews to the site within an hour of the incident. He said the company will have to pay for the damages to the parking lot now saturated with diesel where the spill happened.

The Teller County OEM said the office has notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the spill. The EPA tells News5 it does not need to get involved with cleanup efforts because local and state authorities have said they have it under control.
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