Trucks spills 28 tons of salt into the Eagle River near Minturn |

Trucks spills 28 tons of salt into the Eagle River near Minturn

Emergency personnel assess the damage and potential danger of a truck that slid off U.S. Highway 24 into the Eagle River on Tuesday between Interstate 70 and Minturn. The driver was able to walk away from the crash.Vail Daily/Dominique Taylor

MINTURN, Colorado – A tractor trailer fell down an embankment and landed in the Eagle River Tuesday morning in Minturn.The truck spilled about 28 tons of salt used to make fertilizer into the river, the driver and fire officials said.As of about 4:15 p.m., Belfor Environmental Company was on the way to evaluate if any contamination had occurred, Minturn Police said in a press release.As a precaution, the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District shut down the intake for the public drinking water facilities in Avon, Edwards and Wolcott.”We can ensure the safety of the public water supply because we shut off the public intake,” water district spokeswoman Diane Johnson said.No one was injured in the wreck, which took place about a mile southeast of the Interstate 70 interchange in Minturn.Around 11:30 a.m., a tractor trailer heading south on Highway 24 crossed the center line, hit a northbound pickup truck and rolled down the river embankment, Eagle River Fire Protection District battalion chief Kevin Rindy said.The tractor trailer landed upside down at the edge of the river.The driver, Mike Kaderka, 45, from Windsor, said he was trapped in the truck for about 20 minutes before he pushed out the windshield and wiggled through the opening.”I’m just happy nobody was hurt,” he said.The truck belongs to Gilroy Trucking out of Ault, Rindy said.He said officials are investigating whether the snowy weather conditions caused the wreck.Steve Carver, owner of Big Steve’s Towing in Gypsum, said he planned to bring in a crane to remove the tractor trailer from the river bank.His company towed the Chevrolet pick-up, which officials described as totaled, to L&H Auto Body in Minturn.It’s too soon to say how the spill could affect the fish, said Bill Andree, district wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.”Without knowing for certain all the active ingredients, I don’t know the answer to that,” he said.He said people on the scene have not spotted any dead fish.Andy Poirot, district engineer with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said the chemical in the river is potash, which is made primarily of potassium sulfate. There are no acute health effects from sulfate or potassium if people drink them, he said.Minturn Police, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Eagle County Ambulance District, the Colorado Department of Transportation and A-1 traffic control also responded.

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