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January 29, 2020 – A Nevada Irrigation District (NID) crew responded to a hazardous spill, and assisted in the cleanup of diesel fuel and oil, following a Jan. 27 big rig accident on Highway 20.
The accident was reported around 1:45 pm about a mile from the White Cloud Campground area, which is 5.2 miles from the Scotts Flat Reservoir, the primary source of water for about 30,000 NID customers. The driver was badly injured when his semi-truck flew off the highway down an embankment, hit a tree and landed in a ravine.
About 50-150 gallons of diesel and 10 gallons of used oil spilled into a creek that leads to the North Fork of Deer Creek, which flows into Scotts Flat Reservoir.
NID worked with CalTrans at the scene to apply several booms and pads in an effort to stop the hazardous spill and prevent it from traveling down the waterway. The District also assisted other responders, including California Fish and Wildlife and Nevada County Environmental Health.
Tuesday morning, NID crews returned to monitor and evaluate the situation. “There has been no indication at this time that any fuel or oil has flowed to Scotts Flat Reservoir,” said Fred Waymire, NID’s treated water superintendent. “We will continue to monitor water quality in the area. Our commitment is to our water source and protection of the watershed.”
The District routinely responds with its environmental hazardous response unit when accidents release toxic materials, such as diesel and oil, to threaten its waterways.
Scotts Flat reservoir is at a 3,075-foot elevation, with a capacity of 48,547 acre-feet (326,000 gallons, enough water to cover an acre of land 1-foot deep).