Department of Health & Human Services

Posted on: September 10, 2016

Public notified of gas spill above South Fork Eel River

An estimated 4,000 gallons of gasoline from a petroleum tanker that overturned Wednesday in Southern Humboldt has leaked above the South Fork of the Eel River.

The incident occurred just south of the Salmon Creek exit from northbound U.S. Highway 101.

There is currently no evidence that fuel has entered the water. Assessment of the area continues today, with cleanup efforts expected to begin Tuesday.

The fuel truck overturned with an estimated 7,000 gallons on board. Some of the fuel was recovered in what’s called a “hot stinger operation,” which involves drilling the top of the overturned tank and inserting a pipe to remove the fuel. Recovery efforts, however, were complicated by the position of the truck and its location on the hill.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation is the lead agency for the spill and the recovery. Staff from the Division of Environmental Health (DEH) remain on site and continue to monitor these efforts.

“We don’t believe at this time that the spill presents a threat to public health,” said Susan Buckley, director of the Public Health Branch of the Department of Health & Human Services. “But in keeping with Proposition 65 notification requirements and out of an abundance of caution, we’re making this announcement over the weekend to make sure area residents are informed.”

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