Officials said heavy rains diluted the soap to help speed up the cleaning process after the crash.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
The dish detergent spilled into a Botetourt County creek after a tractor-trailer wreck Tuesday does not appear to have killed any fish, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
Allen Linkenhoker, a pollution response coordinator for the department, said he returned to Purgatory Creek Wednesday morning after crews spent much of Tuesday afternoon and evening monitoring the results of a crash on Interstate 81.
A tractor-trailer hydroplaned near mile marker 168 on the northbound side and crashed off the right side of the road. Linkenhoker said the truck’s load, 50-ounce bottles of dish soap, tumbled into the creek. He said about half of them leaked their contents into the water, creating a flow of foam headed toward the James River.
The tops popped off from most of the bottles that leaked, Linkenhoker said.
By Wednesday morning, he said, only a few suds on the banks and on some vegetation remained as evidence of the spill.
“It’s pretty well moved on out into the James, where it will be highly diluted,” Linkenhoker said.
He did not spot any dead fish or other animals near the spill site, and he said the spill did not appear to have any environmental impact.
Tuesday’s rains likely expedited the cleanup process, he said. The area near the site received more than two inches of rain.
“Heavy rain just to flush the remnants is probably the best cleanup at this point,” he said.
The next step, Linkenhoker said, is checking the site again on Friday. Then, at a point when the creek returns to normal levels, a private contractor will be asked to travel the creek and collect any plastic bottles or tops carried downstream.