Fuel from spill unlikely

January 08, 2002

to reach Valley water users

By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

LAGUNA DAM — Booms, dilution and evaporation are working against a 2,000-gallon diesel fuel spill gradually moving south in the Colorado River, making it unlikely the substance will reach the Imperial Valley.

If it were to enter the Valley's waterways at the All-American Canal, little would remain to reach drinking water plants and people's homes.

The spill occurred Saturday.

Steve Hogan, El Centro public works director, said the quantity of water in the All-American Canal being used by the Valley's cities is minuscule compared to that being used on farms, and if any of the fuel did reach the city's treatment plant, it would be filtered out.


He said dilution and evaporation are working against the spill.

"It would pose no risk whatsoever," Hogan said, adding there are no health or safety risks associated with the spill for the city's drinking water customers.

Meanwhile, the slick has reached Imperial Dam, according to Jack Simes, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation external coordination group manager, who is overseeing cleanup efforts from Laguna Dam.

Simes said the spill has broken up and is now just patches of sheen. He said Reclamation is working under the supervision of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is supervising cleanup efforts at the source, Red River Farms, about 55 river miles upstream of Imperial Dam.

Simes said Reclamation is using several methods to clean up the spill including deflection and containment booms and other devices that attract the fuel and collect it. He said there has been confirmation of no fish kills and he is awaiting information on waterfowl.

"Preliminarily it's looking better," he said. "We were fortunate."

He said Reclamation's efforts will be to keep the fuel from moving downstream of Imperial Dam and into Mexico.

>> Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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