CARBONVILLE, Carbon County — Crews spent Friday cleaning up 8,000 gallons of crude oil, much of it spilled into the Price River, following a tanker rollover on U.S. 6 Thursday night.
The crash happened about 9:40 p.m. just before the Carbonville exit, said Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Todd Royce. A semitrailer from Maverik hauling two tankers filled with oil crossed into oncoming traffic in a construction zone and hit a bridge.
"They're looking at the possibility that the driver got confused in the cone pattern," Royce said.
Both tankers overturned. One carrying 8,000 gallons of crude oil ruptured and nearly all of it spilled into the median, he said. An estimated 6,000 gallons ended up in the Price River.
The second tanker, hauling 4,000 gallons of oil, did not rupture. Crews worked Friday to transfer that oil from the damaged trailer into another tanker, Royce said.
The driver of the truck was taken to a local hospital and was treated for minor injuries.
The road was closed in both directions for most of the day and a detour was set up. The road re-opened to traffic about 5 p.m. Friday.
Cleanup crews from multiple agencies, including Carbon County and the Environmental Protection Agency, responded to the scene.
"Hazmat technicians placed booms at multiple locations downstream. Price River Water Improvement District is aware of the situation as is the Environmental Protection Agency and would like everyone to know that the drinking water is safe," the Carbon County Sheriff's Office posted on its Facebook page.
"The spill is not affecting drinking water or agricultural water. Carbon Canal has diverted some water away from the river to avoid further contamination and expedite mitigation efforts."
"It is a significant cleanup," said Donna Kemp Spangler, spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
The tanker was carrying Uinta Basin crude, which when dumped in the water solidifies.
"It looks like a big chunk of licorice," said Spangler, who also noted it made the cleanup easier to contain.
Several people commented on the sheriff's Facebook page that the traffic pattern through the construction zone was confusing and some predicted an accident would happen.
Contributing: Amy Joi O'Donoghue