Crews containing toxic spill in Weber River in Riverdale

Feb 9 2012 - 12:20am

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Cleanup crews work Wednesday to keep what may be a gasoline spill from reaching a storm drain on the Weber River in Riverdale. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
Cleanup crews work Wednesday to keep what may be a gasoline spill from reaching a storm drain on the Weber River in Riverdale. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
Cleanup crews work Wednesday to keep what may be a gasoline spill from reaching a storm drain on the Weber River in Riverdale. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
Cleanup crews work Wednesday to keep what may be a gasoline spill from reaching a storm drain on the Weber River in Riverdale. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
Cleanup crews work Wednesday to keep what may be a gasoline spill from reaching a storm drain on the Weber River in Riverdale. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
Cleanup crews work Wednesday to keep what may be a gasoline spill from reaching a storm drain on the Weber River in Riverdale. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
Cleanup crews work Wednesday to keep what may be a gasoline spill from reaching a storm drain on the Weber River in Riverdale. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
Cleanup crews work Wednesday to keep what may be a gasoline spill from reaching a storm drain on the Weber River in Riverdale. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)

RIVERDALE -- An investigation is under way to find the source of a toxic spill into the Weber River.

The Riverdale Fire Department responded Wednesday afternoon to a report of a leak pouring out of a drainage pipe into the river just east of 671 West and 4400 South.

The Weber-Morgan Health Department is leading the investigation with help from the fire department and Riverdale Public Works, said acting Fire Chief Dean Gallegos.

The exact amount of the spill is unknown and could keep running into the river until the source is found, Gallegos said.

Most personnel had cleared the scene by 2 p.m., leaving Lincoln Environmental Services to perform cleanup. Rusty Grover, Lincoln's general manager, said he was working under the assumption that the spill was gasoline.

The exact content of the spill remained unknown Wednesday but responded to the use of a hydrocarbon absorbent, which cleans up oil without absorbing water.

"So it's working just fine," Grover said.

Lincoln Environmental Services workers placed numerous absorbent booms across the river in various places to keep the spill contained.

Although people may not be harmed, Grover said if the spill is not cleaned up, it could kill trees, fish and other wildlife, including the ducks and geese that were swimming nearby while the crews worked in the frigid water.

"There's a lot of things that it will do to the ecosystem of this river," Grover said.

Such cleanups are rare for the company, as people have become more careful about keeping toxins out of the water.

In his 15 years of working in environmental cleanup, Grover said, he has seen only about 10 similar spills.

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