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Posted on January 25, 2019 at 3:54 PM by Nancy Oakland-Potter
Q. What plans are being made for a clean-up of the spilled diesel fuel from the recent I-80? In general, how well is the City/County prepared for such disasters inflicted upon the aquifer?
A. The City of Laramie Fire Department responded the morning of January 21st at 04:57 a.m. to milepost 323 on Interstate 80, west bound lane, for a report of diesel fuel leaking onto the roadway from a motor vehicle accident. The fire department responds to hazardous materials spills as the State of Wyoming Regional Emergency Response Team #3 (RERT #3). The accident involved two semi-trailer trucks, one of which was hauling diesel fuel. The fuel container, along with piping and valves, was damaged in the accident causing an active leak from the trailer. The driver of the semi-trailer truck insured that all valves were closed prior to the arrival of emergency responders.
Actions taken by RERT #3 included packing the piping that was leaking, placement of a splash pool to capture any remaining active leak, and the use of sand and absorbent to collect the diesel spill from the roadway area. Absorbent material was also used at the origin of the spill area to minimize the spread of the spill and an empty fuel trailer was ordered to the scene for the purpose of offloading the remaining fuel from the damaged trailer. Other emergency response agencies on scene included the Wyoming Highway Patrol, the Albany County Sheriff Department, and the Wyoming Department of Transportation. The State Department of Environmental Quality was notified and assigned a case number to this event.
The Casper Aquifer Protection Plan (CAPP) identifies transportation corridors as having the potential to contaminate the aquifer in a single event if hazardous materials are released in sufficient quantities. In particular, I-80 is considered a “threat with a high likelihood and greatest potential severity of damage to the Casper Aquifer from milepost 323 to 317.” For this reason, Albany County and City of Laramie completed a study of the I-80 Telephone Canyon area in a joint effort with WYDOT in 2011. Many aquifer protection control options identified in that report have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented. Reduced speed limits, roadway re-surfacing to improve skid resistance and improved spill response measures are recent changes that have been made.
The City of Laramie remains actively concerned about any impact to the aquifer that would impact the quality of municipal water. The City will continue to work with jurisdictional partners, including Albany County, the State of Wyoming, and Federal Government, to ensure public safety and adequate response as necessary to mitigate impacts to the aquifer.