Accident causes water concerns |

Accident causes water concerns

DILLON VALLEY – A vehicle that rolled down the embankment from Interstate-70 near Eisenhower Tunnel and landed upside-down in Straight Creek Monday created a water-quality concern for Dillon and Dillon Valley officials.

A Jeep Wrangler was parked by the side of the highway when it apparently rolled down the embankment and into the creek below, said Francis Winston, chief of Lake-Dillon Fire Rescue and district manager for the Dillon Valley water and sewer district. The driver was not in the vehicle at the time.

Winston estimated about 7 gallons of gas, plus the engine oil and other contaminants, leaked into the river, which is the main source of water for Dillon and Dillon Valley.

Though the total contaminants in the water were relatively small, Winston said fire crews worked aggressively in an attempt to remove them from the creek. Because the water levels are extremely low, it “doesn’t take much to contaminate the river and it takes longer to clean,” he said.

“Right now, I’m pretty protective of Straight Creek,” Winston said. “There’s just not a lot of water in it, and what little is in it, I don’t want it contaminated.”

Crews used booms (a material designed to absorb oils and grease without water) in several locations in an effort to remove the pollutants from the creek before reaching the districts’ water treatment plants. Winston said officials shut down both plants for the night as a safeguard.

The Summit Daily News was not able to reach the Colorado State Patrol to confirm the status of the driver of the Jeep.

Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or

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