CDOT: Pave the Poudre?

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Bump and Update: From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Trevor Hughes):

On Friday, CDOT spokeswoman Stacey Stegman said LaFarge plans to require tanker subcontractor Transtank of Greeley to sign papers committing to using alternative routes. Some of the tankers have been delivering asphalt to the project up the canyon on Colorado Highway 14, while others have dropped down through Walden from Wyoming, Stegman said.

More coverage of the cleanup from Trevor Hughes writing for the Fort Collins Coloradoan:

On Friday, Environmental Protection Agency on-scene coordinator Paul Peronard said heavy equipment likely will speed removal of the asphalt from Thursday’s spill. In the most recent spill, the asphalt largely settled into a pool of water like a thick, sticky black carpet…

On Friday, Belfor workers brought in an excavator. Early indications suggested the excavator would be able to roll up the edge of the spill, pulling out large chunks. “If this works out well, it should go a lot faster, and with a lot less labor having guys in the river,” [Environmental Protection Agency on-scene coordinator Paul Peronard] said in a news briefing Friday…

Peronard said the asphalt has little “innate toxicity.” He said floating booms appeared to have soaked up most of the spilled diesel.

The second asphalt tanker in 9 days went into the Poudre River yesterday. The tanker was ferrying cargo up Colorado 14 to a CDOT project on Cameron Pass. Here’s a report from Trevor Hughes writing for the Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article:

The crash came the same day the EPA and other officials were preparing to declare complete the cleanup from a similar Aug. 25 crash. Alexander, who witnessed Thursday’s crash, is a senior chemist with URS Operating Services, an EPA contractor overseeing the first crash cleanup…

Thursday’s spill left a thick black blanket of asphalt on the river bottom right downstream of the crash. The Aug. 25 spill seemed to have run downstream a little further. Test results from that crash have revealed no significant water pollution, but officials on Thursday said the diesel spill might pose more of a risk. Capt. Patrick Love, a spokesman for Poudre Fire Authority, said the river levels on Thursday morning were low because river managers were withholding irrigation flows while the Aug. 25 cleanup wrapped up. Love said the lower levels meant Thursday’s spill had a chance to settle instead of being washed downstream. Major Justin Smith of the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said the river would likely be closed to recreational use between mile markers 113 and 119, and he urged downstream anglers to release any fish they catch, just in case.

This morning, EPA officials were planning to begin cleanup efforts in earnest. They planned to build a temporary rock dike across the Poudre, drive an excavator to the other side and use the machine to pull the congealed mass toward the shore, where it could be cut up. EPA on-scene coordinator Paul Peronard said the water where the asphalt mass settled is about 10 feet deep. The prior spill happened in a much shallower area, allowing workers to simply stand in the river and cut the mass apart. In this case, Peronard said, workers will use the excavator to draw the material to shallower waters, cut it apart and send the bagged chunks back across for removal. Peronard said the EPA and the local fire and law enforcement agencies that responded to the crash will seek to recover their costs from the load’s insurer. Peronard said the cleanup itself would likely cost about $60,000. And he said the spill, which violates the federal Clean Water Act, could draw additional fines of up to $25,000 per day until cleaned up.

More Poudre River watershed coverage here.

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