Crews working to take control of diesel spill
April 30, 2009 · Updated 12:13 PM
A significant amount of the diesel fuel that spilled two weeks ago near Crystal Mountain has been located and efforts are under way to excavate the contaminated soil.
Those in charge of the mountain cleanup announced Friday much of the fuel that leaked from a Puget Sound Energy backup generator made its way into soil under a utility corridor near the generation station, which serves the ski area uphill from Enumclaw.
The spill, estimated at 18,000 gallons, has attracted a variety of agencies. Crews from PSE, the Washington Department of Ecology, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, Washington Department of Health and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department have been working continuously since the initial report of the spill on Nov. 3.
Their task has been to explore all locations where the fuel may have migrated and to safely capture and remove the diesel.
Representatives from involved agencies have banded under the name of Unified Command. “Initial estimates are that several thousands of gallons of diesel fuel are in the soil in these areas. Only small amounts of diesel fuel continue to seep out of the ground near Silver Creek,” Unified Command said.
Diesel infiltrated the gravel bed of the access road as far as 300 yards north of the station. The road is on the west side of Crystal Mountain Boulevard and Silver Creek is on the opposite side of the boulevard, 300 to 400 feet east of the access road.
Crews are now excavating the diesel-mixed soil from the utility corridor while they continue their site analysis and work to address any residual diesel that may have migrated closer to Silver Creek.
Drinking water wells near the mouth of Silver Creek, approximately four miles downstream of the spill location, are regularly being sampled and tested for any evidence of diesel. To date, no diesel has been detected in any of the well samples. PSE will continue to provide local residents with drinking water while the wells are being tested.
Additional information can be found at the Ecology Web site, www.ecy.wa.gov, under the “Spotlight” section.