Fuel spill at Donner Lake: Soil cleanup, I-80 work begins Tuesday | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Fuel spill at Donner Lake: Soil cleanup, I-80 work begins Tuesday

Greyson Howard
Tahoe Daily Tribune

TRUCKEE – Cleanup crews began digging in diesel-stained soil Tuesday, looking for the last vestiges of the fuel spill that tipped about 3,000 gallons off of Donner Summit and as far down as Donner Lake.

Crews are working along Interstate 80, where the big rig tipped over on May 26 – meaning lane closures and some delays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We have worked with Caltrans to design an operation that will get the soil out effectively while minimizing as much as possible the impact of traffic delays on travelers,” said Hector Orozco, incident commander for the Department of Fish and Game, in a press release. “We also have an agreement that operations will cease in the event of rain or temporarily suspend if traffic gets too backed up.”

On Tuesday Orozco said seven large containers of soil had been removed, and fish and game was estimating pulling a total of 120 yards of soil up during the cleanup.

The soil will be taken to a landfill, and replaced with clean earth, Orozco said.

Work will continue through Thursday, if needed, and the California Highway Patrol will be on-site monitoring traffic, according to the press release.

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The majority of the spilled fuel appears to have ended up in the center divide of I-80, according to Fish and Game, and hand crews will most likely remove the diesel-stained soil in that area.

“Initial assessments of the stained soil revealed most of the fuel-impacted soil is shallow,” said Carol Oz, fish and environmental scientist. “Considering the terrain and safety, the extent of spill impact, and the need to minimize damage to the hillside, hand crews will be the most effective approach for removing soil on the lake side of the Interstate.”

Last week, crews working on cleaning up Summit Creek and Donner Lake said diesel was no longer detectable in the lake, but monitoring of the area will continue, along with the assessment of any impacts to wildlife.

Donner Lake is open to the public with no spill-related restrictions. For more information see https://calspillwatch.dfg.ca.gov.

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