Crash, fuel spill closes Route 18 in Washington County

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Fracking water and diesel fuel spilled into Chartiers Creek in Washington County this morning after a crash on Route 18 involving a tractor-trailer and two water tanker trucks, a state environmental official said.

The trucks crashed near Oak Grove Road in Canton, northwest of the city of Washington around 3 a.m., forcing the road to be closed. A county emergency dispatch supervisor said two people were taken to the hospital with injuries. Their conditions were not immediately available.

Officials initially thought 200 to 300 gallons of both diesel fuel and water used in hydraulic fracturing spilled into the creek, but Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John Poister said the amounts are significantly less.

Crash results in hazardous waste spill

Diesel fuel and fracking water spilled into Chartiers Creek in Washington County this morning after a crash on Route 18. (Video by Darrell Sapp; 4/21/2014)

"It's definitely not nearly as bad as we initially thought, and that's a good thing," he said.

Route 18 reopened just before 6 p.m.

About 1,300 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from the tractor-trailer, he said. About 400 gallons of frack water leaked from one of the two haulers,which are from Highland Environmental LLC in Somerset, Somerset County.

Mr. Poister said clean-up crews were on the scene, and a DEP team collected water samples. Most of the diesel fuel remained on the road, where it's been contained, he said.

Mr. Poister credited firefighters and fire-responders with quickly sopping up the fuel with absorbent pads, keeping the leak contained to one mile.

"It could have been a whole lot worse, and we're thankful for that right now," he said.

Drivers are being advised to avoid the area. It is unclear how long the road will be closed.

Molly Born: or 412-263-1944. First Published April 21, 2014 6:24 AM

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