Semi crashes, 10-15 gallons of its fuel reaches Sammamish River

A semi tractor trailer failed to maneuver a curve on the 17500 block of Northeast Woodinville-Duvall Road yesterday afternoon and slammed on its side, spilling between 30-35 gallons of diesel fuel out of its cap.

A semi tractor trailer failed to maneuver a curve on the 17500 block of Northeast Woodinville-Duvall Road yesterday afternoon and slammed on its side, spilling between 30-35 gallons of diesel fuel out of its cap.

About 10-15 gallons of the fuel reached the Sammamish River (which runs through Bothell) through a storm drain, according to Larry Altose of the Department of Ecology.

The Woodinville Fire Department reported the accident to Ecology at 2:35 p.m., and Altose noted that Woodinville Public Works placed “boom” — fuel clean-up material — on the drain to prevent any more fuel from passing through into the river.

The firefighters also performed two more important tasks, Altose said:

• Crimping off the crossover valve to the semi’s two 100-gallon tanks (which were filled with approximately 70 gallons of fuel each) to minimize the fuel spillage. The upper tank was isolated, but the bottom tank leaked.

• Shoveling dirt on a road berm in front of the drain to halt the fuel flow. They later used Floraclean on the fuel in their cleanup process.

The city also “jetted” the drain via a vacuum truck, Altose said, so fuel stuck inside doesn’t enter the river the next time it rains.

As for Ecology’s job, Altose noted that in this case, the sheen of fuel was so light and they determined they wouldn’t be able to capture the fuel with their boom or sweep equipment. The King County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit was on patrol, surveyed the water and confirmed Ecology’s assessment, stating that the fuel was non-recoverable.

Altose stressed that Ecology wasn’t dismissing the spill, they just didn’t have the technology to make a clean sweep of the river at that time.

Also, since it was a hot, sunny day, Altose said Ecology decided to let the small amount of fuel evaporate.

It took about two hours for the fuel to flow on the river from Woodinville to Bothell, Altose said, adding that workers on the scene received several complaints that the river smelled of fuel.

No one was hurt in the accident.

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