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Cleanup from Manila chemical spill could take 2-4 weeks

Utah Highway Patrol

MANILA, Daggett County —A hazardous material spill on a road between Vernal and Manila could take two to four weeks to clean up, officials said Friday.

The spill occurred when a semitrailer rolled Thursday. The driver told emergency responders that when he swerved to avoid an animal in the road, his tractor-trailer hauling 12 large containers of chlorite solution tipped over and rolled down a ravine.

The incident occurred about five miles south of Manila on state Route 44, which is west of Flaming Gorge Reservoir and leads to Green River, Wyo.

Up to 3,600 gallons of chlorite solution spilled from the containers, all of which leaked, according to UHP Lt. Steve Winward. An unknown amount of the material leaked into a stream that feeds into Flaming Gorge Reservoir, which could have some effect on fish there, he added.

The driver was flown by medical helicopter to a Salt Lake area hospital with serious injuries, but he had no broken bones and was expected to be released Saturday, Winward said.

Chlorite solution is an acid that can burn the skin and cause harm if its fumes are inhaled. Neither the driver nor any emergency responders were injured from the spilled material, Winward said.

The spill presents no risk to the traveling public, said Daggett County sheriff's spokeswoman Karen Peterson.

The truck and containers have been removed from the ravine, and hazmat crews from Envirocare will now remove and replace soil that became saturated with the material, Winward said.

The town of Manila receives about 1 million visitors for fishing and other outdoor activities during summer months, Peterson said.