Residents dealing with the consequences
Within hours of the gasoline tanker’s rollover accident, some Lyons residents took it upon themselves to immediately start pulling fish from the contaminated water.
“I am up on Apple Valley Road at a friend’s place documenting the clean up from loving volunteers,” said Sally Van Meter. She counted in her bucket 74 German brown trout, including fingerlings (babies), and two very large rainbow trout. She was with Cheyne Monroe and Amanda Anderson. Daniel Strawn worked alongside Amanda, netting the fish, and stated the river was “still very toxic” at 1:30 p.m. the day after the incident.
Residents were asked to email Ben Brodman, Town of Lyons, at Brodman@townoflyons.com with where specifically people captured the fish, how many, what time and day, and any other info. “Please report any mortalities you’ve removed to me at Town Hall for reporting to CPW, EPA etc. Accurate data is super important.”
“The aquatic invertebrates took a huge hit too,” said Matthew B. Rooney. “I have seen piles of them in small eddies on Apple Valley Road. Mainly stone flies.”
Many people are talking about how the St. Vrain River has been stocked many times over the years, in particular after the Great Flood of 2013.
“Mike Clark, Matt Rooney(?), Mike Kruise (Laughing Grizzly owner) and others got wind of private hatchery going out of business and bought many fish at cut rate price,” said Greg Lowell. “There were absolute giants in AV (Apple Valley), in Meadow Park for a long time, and upriver. I was shocked at the size of the rainbows that came to hand fishing there. That was, I believe, in 2016. Those big fish are long gone, but the ones you see are their offspring. Remember also that Ben Swigle and CPW crew stocked thousands of rainbow fingerlings in Bohn Park about a year later. We’ve got a great fishery here in Lyons and the county, and we need to demand that recompense be made by the trucking firm to restock the North St. Vrain.”
People need to remember that there is the North and South St. Vrain River, and they converge at the Confluence in town. The river near the dog park is safe for animals to play in.
See our article from April 27 for more details about the crash and photos of the tanker and emergency vehicles.
Two Fish Photos posted by Steve Simms
Ecology Advisory Board statement 4/28/21
Hello… Related to the Gas Tanker Spill 4/27/2021.
With the smell of unleaded fuel still in the air, if you have collected any of the dead fish/animals from the tanker petroleum spill and still have them, hang onto them. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) can use that information about the species and mortality numbers.
Fuel spill mortality count and study is under way. Share any details you have with CPW Eric Lowery. He said he can use pictures, video, and actual dead fish that have been saved as part of an environmental impact study. Keep fish cool or frozen. If you have a total count that is useful. People with fish should send an email to LyonsFishInfo@state.co.us with their telephone contact info so we can reach them and come up with a way to pick up the fish.
I would like to take one more minute to explain what the Ecology Advisory Board (EAB) created during the 2013 flood restoration to vet like-minded contractors. The EAB created a guiding document to be used for river restoration and remediation (see link). This document can be used related to this spill. It will be updated by the EAB. Please see the SUSTAINABLE RIVER CORRIDOR ACTION PLAN (SRCAP – Sometimes pronounced scrap)
I understand but do not want to get bogged down in the emotional side of this issue but more-so to emphasize the importance of a long-term Natural Resource Director Position (NRP or NRD) within the Town. The restoration will be a long-term project related to aquatic, riparian, and terrestrial impacts.
The EAB has open seats. With this pressing need for river health restoration (and other ecological needs) in our community, please reach out to help. It is a very timely issue.
Thanks, Steve Simms, Ecology Advisory Board (EAB) Chairman for the Town of Lyons.
I’ve been in various environmental volunteer roles with the Town for 25 years. I received my masters in Restoration Ecology from CU Boulder.
Crews work on clean up, 5 p.m. the day after the accident – by Kathleen Spring All traffic was stopped and re-routed along Apple Valley Road – by Kathleen Spring
Statement by the Town of Lyons, 4/28/21, 5 p.m.
US-36 HazMat Spill Update
The Town of Lyons and the Lyons Fire Protection District wants to ensure that our community has the most up to date information regarding the hazardous material spill that happened on Tuesday, April 27 around noon time, along US-36 westbound just before the Apple Valley Bridge.
The Town of Lyons, Boulder County Public Health, Colorado State Patrol Hazardous Materials, Lyons Fire Protection District and the Environmental Protection Agency are working cooperatively and have the following updates:
Earlier today, April 28, the semi-truck hauling premium gasoline was uprighted by a contracting crew. Based on the amount of gasoline remaining in the semi-truck once upright, Colorado State Patrol Hazardous Materials Division estimates that 500 -1,000 gallons of fuel went into the river. This is less than the original estimate from last night.
Response teams have started containment and recovery operations. The response phase is over and the recovery phase is now in place. The EPA is working together with the State and the County to coordinate a comprehensive clean up plan.
Crews will be working from dawn to dusk for the next 3 to 4 days on recovery. Their goal is to have the remediation team and their work complete by mid-day Saturday.
The EPA stated that in their experience the worst part is over in regards to contamination. They also stated that natural sunshine and the turbidity of our water through town helps to dissipate the gasoline. The EPA recovery team will continue daily water sampling for documentation.
US-36 remains closed through the weekend. Semi trucks are advised to take Highway 34 via Loveland or State Highway 7 via Allenspark.
This is now considered a private insurance claim which the EPA, State and County will bill out to. The Town of Lyons is not financially responsible.
For our neighbors in Apple Valley, the EPA thinks it is unlikely that a private well would be impacted down steam unless they are drawing water from the creek. Boulder County has a list of certified labs a homeowner could reach out to for testing their well.
Regarding river access and water, Boulder County Public Health noted that if you are in doubt, stay out. Certainly if you can smell gas, do not enter the water.
We also hope to make a final decision about the planned river clean up scheduled for May 1 in the next 12-18 hours and will post that as well.
We wanted to include some links for those who would like additional detailed information.
Environmental Protection Agency Response Site
Interactive Story Map (EPA)
Well water testing (Apple Valley Residents)
COTrip.org (road closure information)
If we have more updates to share we will post these public information releases and briefings via the Town E-blast.
We remind all residents in the Town of Lyons to please sign up for the Boulder County emergency messaging system.
Let’s continue to take care of each other and our earth.
WATER SAMPLES (per Town of Lyons 4/29/21):
On April 27, EPA collected water samples from the North St Vrain Creek at multiple locations above and below the spill site. This includes sampling for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX chemicals) and gasoline-range organics (GRO), compounds that occur naturally in gasoline. Preliminary sampling results do not detect contamination in these locations and they do not anticipate impacts to wells at this time.
The BTEX measurements were all below EPA’s drinking water standards. The GRO measurement was slightly above the detection limit near the accident but was not detected further downstream. These data suggest the pulse of gasoline that was discharged to the creek has dissipated and there is no indication of a lingering water quality impact to the North Saint Vrain Creek.
Additional sampling was conducted on April 28, 2021.
Boulder County 4/30/21 – Q&A
===Frequently Asked Questions===
==How do you know there will be no lingering water quality impacts?
On April 27, EPA collected water samples from the North St Vrain Creek at multiple locations above and below the spill site, with additional sampling conducted on April 28, 2021. Results do not detect contamination in these locations and we do not anticipate impacts to wells at this time.
==If there are no lingering impacts on water, why does EPA remain on site?
EPA continues to support containment and recovery operations, including containment and pumping operations from the gasoline fuel that spilled. Excavation of gasoline impacted soil has started and will continue until removal of contaminated soils is complete.
A berm has been constructed at the location of the accident; and containment booms have been deployed in the North St. Vrain Creek to capture product downstream of the accident Site, which EPA continues to monitor.
==Why isn’t EPA collecting samples from all private drinking water wells in the area?
At this time, the majority of the fuel from the spill has moved downstream. Several samples were taken along the river from the spill site down to Hwy 36 and Hwy 66 intersection on Tuesday. Sampling results do not detect contamination in these locations. We do not anticipate impacts to wells at this time.
We encourage residents to continue to observe conditions and report any concerns or indications of gasoline contamination to Boulder County Public Health at 303-441-1241 or email healthows@BoulderCounty.org.
Boulder County Public Health encourages all well owners to test their well water at least annually for coliform and E.coli. For more information on well testing and to find a lab to perform the testing please visit https://www.bouldercounty.org/enviro…/water/water-testing/
==What if I find dead fish in the Creek?
Please contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife at LyonsFishInfo@state.co.us with any photos or videos of dead fish, or if you collected and saved dead fish.