EPA responders have been working to contain the spill and monitor water quality
On Dec. 15, a semi-tanker carrying gasoline slid on black ice near Salem, Ore., resulting in the death of the driver as the truck caught fire, and contamination of the North Santiam River. The truck was carrying 11,500 gal of gasoline, however, it is unknown how much of that found its way into the river.
The river provides drinking water to the nearby cities of Salem, Gates, Lyons-Mehama and Stayton, Ore.,— about 192,000 people. Additional concerns include contaminated soil along the riverbanks and air quality control.
Salem and the surrounding areas have switched their water source to storage reserves and groundwater wells in the meantime. Responders from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have gathered water samples from different points along the river to measure containment and water quality.
The EPA responders reported only seeing and smelling gasoline at the spill site, which could mean containment efforts were successful. According the the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), preliminary tests taken downstream from the spill showed no traces of gasoline. The City of Salem and surrounding communities will continue to use water reserves until all tests confirm the water quality of the North Santiam River.