Hwy. 22E repairs underway after fiery, fatal tanker crash

No word when road might reopen; Rdmond man dies

IDANHA, Ore. - (Update: ODOT still not sure when highway can reopen)

ODOT had a contractor working Monday on repairs to about 300 feet of state Highway 22E near Idanha damaged by a deadly fuel tanker truck crash and fire late Friday night that killed a Redmond man and spilled more than 11,000 gallons of unleaded gas, prompting a major environmental cleanup effort.

The agency still had no word on when the highway in the Santiam Canyon might reopen. It remained closed between milepost 55 at the east end of Idanha to the Santiam Junction, where Highway 22 and U.S. Highway 20 meet.

"OR 22 will remain closed indefinitely because of damaged caused by the intense fire and fuel spill," ODOT's Monday update said.

Here's Sunday night's report from Oregon DEQ:

Agencies working to clean up the site of a deadly fuel tanker crash on state Highway 22E near Idanha that spilled gasoline into the North Santiam River focused their efforts Sunday on removing contaminated soil along the riverbanks, sampling water intakes downstream and monitoring air quality.


The fiery crash late Friday night on the icy roadway killed Ronald Edward Scurlock, 58, of Redmond, Oregon State Police reported.

Responders from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted water sampling at the crash site and downstream. The only place where they reported seeing and smelling gasoline was in the river at the spill site, behind booms placed in the river to prevent the gasoline from spreading.


EPA responders took water samples from the river at drinking water intakes for Lyons/Mehama, Detroit Lake, Stayton, Gates and Salem. During the sampling, they didn't see or smell gasoline, and air monitoring at those locations didn't detect the presence of volatile organic compounds -- chemicals emitted by petroleum products.


EPA also conducted air monitoring at some homes bordering Detroit Lake and in the communities of Detroit and Idanha. Responders didn't smell gasoline and air monitoring didn't detect the presence of volatile organic compounds at those locations.


Additional air monitoring is planned.


The water samples taken on Sunday will need to be tested for the presence of gasoline. Preliminary results are expected back as early as Monday and reviewed data is expected on Tuesday.


The Oregon Health Authority worked Saturday to notify communities with downriver drinking water intakes. OHA advised those with concerns about drinking water to contact their local water providers. Information is also available at https://yourwater.oregon.govIn the unlikely event that water is unsafe to drink, residents will be notified.


The city of Salem will continue to use backup drinking water supplies from groundwater and reservoir sources until safety concerns have been lifted. 


Oregon Highway 22E in the Santiam Canyon remains closed between milepost 55 at the east end of Idanha to the Santiam Junction, where Oregon 22 and U.S. 20 intersects.


The Oregon Department of Transportation advised that U.S. 20 is an alternate route for travelers going between the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon.


Oregon Highway 22 will remain closed indefinitely because of damage caused by the crash. ODOT is assessing the damage and determining what repairs will be needed.


Check road updates at our ODOT TripCheck page.


The tanker was carrying an estimated 11,600 gallons of gasoline. It is unknown how much of the gasoline burned in the ensuing fire and how much made its way to the river.


The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is coordinating on the response with EPA, OHA, ODOT, Salem, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Oregon State Police, Oregon State Fire Marshal, Linn County Sheriff's Office, Linn and Marion counties, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, The Confederated Tribes of the Siletz, The Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde and The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs tribes, and others. 

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