(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Along the side of East Garden of the Gods Road and North Nevada Avenue, the city identified two abandoned oil drums. When the city was moving the two waste items on Thursday, Jan. 12, the second one ruptured and spilled out onto the street.
“But in the process of picking up the second one, it actually ruptured,” said Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) Captain, Mike Smaldino. “We were called shortly thereafter from the fire department side because it contained approximately 200 gallons of petroleum product.”
The spilled oil made its way into the storm drain and into Monument Creek.
“In the process of getting into the storm drain, it obviously it’s unfortunately made its way into… Monument Creek, which is what we’re trying to help mitigate now,” Smaldino said. “Our crews were able to stop a pretty good chunk of it up top in a storm drain.”
28 firefighters were on the scene trying to mitigate the spill and were working to build an undercurrent dam.
“Also, our hazmat crews, they’re actually in the process of building what we call an undercurrent dam, which is going to help try and contain more of that oil as it’s seeping out through the ground and into the end of the to the stream itself,” Smaldino said.
In regard to if the spill would impact drinking water, Colorado Springs Utilities (Springs Utilities) was on the scene to inform its customers that their drinking water was safe.
“Thankfully, drinking water is not at risk in this situation,” said Springs Utilities Senior Public Affairs Specialist, Steve Berry. “Pikeview reservoir behind you here, we’re not currently drawing water from that reservoir. We do have the capability to isolate it though from our system. And we’ve seen that with the blue green algae in the past where we’ve been able to successfully isolate this reservoir when we we’re drawing from it.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) fisheries biologist, Cory Noble, spoke about how the spilled oil could impact wildlife in Monument Creek.
“We’re here just to check for any mortality with fish or wildlife from the spill in the creek,” said Noble. “It is possible that we could have some sort of injury or death to wildlife from this. We’re still having a look at it. We’re going to continue to monitor it for several days.”
Noble also said deer drinking the water could also be exposed to the spilled oil.
The cleanup will be underway for several days.
“This is going to be days as far as cleanup, as far as trying to see how much product got into the soils,” Smaldino said.
CPW will continue to monitor Monument Creek for several days to see the impact the spill may have on wildlife.