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Celebrate! It's Dia De Los Reyes Magos

January 05, 2002|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

As much as 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the Colorado River in rural La Paz County, Ariz., on Saturday, prompting a joint effort by Arizona and California authorities to keep the fuel out of the Imperial Dam.

The dam feeds river water into the All-American Canal, the water source for the Imperial Valley.

The diesel fuel spilled from a pipeline on the river's edge across from the northeast corner of Imperial County.

Imperial County Supervisor Wally Leimgruber was on the scene Saturday following the spill, which occurred about 6:30 a.m.

Leimgruber said the spill was spotted by Arizona Department of Fish and Game officials.

Authorities first noticed a filmy substance flowing down river, he said. They investigated and determined it was diesel fuel.

Leimgruber said authorities managed to stop the leak but not before as much as 4,000 gallons of fuel entered the river.

The concern was the fuel, which does not mix with the water but evaporates, was flowing south toward the Imperial Dam.

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It is about 50 miles from the point of the spill to Imperial Dam and the river flows about 6 mph.

Leimgruber said buoys were placed in the water about five miles north of the dam at Ferguson Lake, adding officials think their efforts will prevent the fuel from entering the dam and the All-American Canal.

Any fuel that does not evaporate on its own will be removed from the river at Ferguson Lake.

He said the spill does not represent a danger to the public.

The fuel spilled from a pipeline that connects two fuel tanks to a water pump used by a rancher based in La Paz County.

Authorities in Mexico were notified Saturday of the spill.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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