WORTHINGTON — A tanker tank crashed and landed upside-down in a creek Saturday morning along Four States Road in Worthington, spilling diesel fuel, oil and drill mud into the waterway, according to Worthington Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Chris McIntire.
Following the crash, four dams were set up downstream in the waterway, two to catch the diesel fuel and oil and the other pair to capture the drill mud — which was from fracking — according to McIntire, who also serves as director of the Marion County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management. A large white boom was visible in West Fork River.
McIntire said the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency were contacted, but the public health was not at risk. According to Marion County 911, the call for the crash came in at 11:34 a.m.
McIntire said the driver of the tanker truck, a man, was taken by ambulance to Fairmont Regional Medical Center for injuries. He said the driver lost control of the tanker truck, which then crashed and came to rest in the waterway. He didn't know why the driver lost control.
The road was closed to traffic in both directions, and firefighters and a tow company spent hours at the scene removing the truck from the waterway. McIntire said Hillbilly Towing brought in a large rotator tow truck, essentially a crane on wheels, to lift the tanker out of the creek.
As of 6:30 p.m., the tanker had been removed from the water way and was right-side up on the road, covered in mud and grass.
Earlier in the day, McIntire described the scope of the recovery effort.
"They're going to have bring in several tow trucks to get the vehicle flipped back over safely," he said. "We have power lines above us as obstructions. Right now, we have to watch to make sure we don't get into those. And we have two pump trucks trying to pump the drill mud off the truck right now. So, it's a lot of moving parts that's going on right now, and we hope to have it done as soon as possible to get the road back open."
According to McIntire, 50 to 75 gallons of diesel fuel, as well as oil, spilled into the water. A a "good bit" of drill mud also got spilled the water. He said the diesel fuel was lost because the fuel tanks on the truck were ruptured.
He said the truck was hauling 80 40-pound gallon barrels of drill mud. The remaining drill mud in the overturned tanker was being pumped into another tanker, he said.
The name of the company on the truck's door was IPC Services, LLC of Harmony, Pa., and an IPC Services Emergency Spill Response Services truck was on scene. Two representatives of the Pennsylvania-based company were on the scene, but declined to comment.
A representative of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources was also in the area of the crash Saturday evening to investigate the impact of the spill on fish, and he also declined to comment. A West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection representative at the scene referred comments to the DEP communications director, who could not be reached for comment at press time.
McIntire said he didn't yet have any information as to whether any aquatic life was affected by the spill.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (304) 367-2549.