LYONS, Colo. — Several hundred dead fish have been collected and are being stored as evidence as part of an investigation to assess the damage to aquatic life on the North St. Vrain Creek following a tanker crash that resulted in a fuel spill last week, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).
The crash happened on April 27 on US 36 at Apple Valley Road when a tanker truck carrying roughly 8,000 gallons of gasoline rolled over onto the highway.
Earlier the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it hadn't determined how much fuel made it into the water, but estimated that the truck released between 500 and 1,000 gallons of fuel.
Following the crash, the fuel that didn’t leak from the tanker was offloaded and crews constructed a berm near where the crash occurred.
Vacuum trucks were then used to salvage recoverable fuel, the EPA said.
In large-scale incidents, such as this one, counting or collecting every single dead fish is not possible, CPW said. Instead, CPW said they would use "statistically valid methods" to accurately estimate the losses.
Since the initial response by wildlife officers, several hundred fish have been collected, identified, counted and stored as evidence over the past several days.
Mindi May, CPW’s water quality coordinator, and Dr. Pete Cadmus, an aquatic research scientist at CPW’s Aquatic Toxicology Lab, spent Saturday assessing the river.
They collected macroinvertebrate samples, took water quality measurements, measured algae and continued to survey for fish.
“We visited numerous sites on the river from just upstream of the crash site all the way down to the confluence with the South Saint Vrain,” May said.
Information and observations about dead fish or other wildlife impacts related to the spill can be reported to CPW at email@example.com.
CPW said they're working with the EPA, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) to collect as much information as possible.
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