Tanker overturns, spills near Parachute
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PARACHUTE, Colorado – A Hotchkiss man was hospitalized on Saturday after the tanker truck he was driving rolled over on a county road to the west of Parachute, spilling an unknown quantity of liquid from the tanker about a quarter of a mile from the Colorado River.
The accident, a one-vehicle rollover involving a truck owned by Summit Energy Services, occurred at mile marker 2 on the Una Bridge Road at about 9 a.m., according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Kevin Rae.
The driver of the truck, Glen Schramm, was not badly injured but had to be cut out of the cab and taken to the Grand River Hospital in Rifle, Rae said.
A hospital supervisor refused to confirm that Schramm had been admitted, or to say whether he had been released, citing federal privacy regulations.
The CSP trooper estimated that perhaps 500 gallons of liquid had spilled, although he left the scene after Schramm was taken to the hospital.
Rae said he was told the liquid in the truck was “production water,” that “is not classified as a hazardous material” and that a private cleanup crew arrived to deal with the spill. He said the state’s own HazMat division will check to make sure the cleanup was handled correctly, though he was not sure when that would happen.
Bob Arrington, a Battlement Mesa resident familiar with industry equipment and activities, drove by the wreck at about 1 p.m. on Saturday, and reported in an email that cleanup crews were still at work pumping liquid out of a ditch and into a waiting tanker.
Arrington maintained in the email that the liquid actually was “produced water,” which is made up of water and other substances found deep underground, overlaying gas and oil deposits.
Produced water is considered an industrial waste and potentially hazardous to human health due to the presence of toxic compounds such as benzene, toluene and xylene.
Rae said the wreck happened after the truck’s wheels slid off the road to the right, and that the tanker rolled once over onto its top, crushing the cab.
A Denver-based reporter, Peter Heller, with the Bloomberg Business Week magazine, who was touring with Arrington on Saturday, conducting research for an article about gas drilling.
Heller said that at the time he and Arrington came upon the scene, there were no emergency vehicles or HazMat equipment beyond a couple of pumper trucks transferring the liquid from a ditch to the tanker.
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