Officials trying to clean up gas spill before it seeps into groundwater


SOUTHERN HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. - Nearly 4,000 gallons of gasoline from a petroleum tanker overturned Wednesday in South Humboldt above the South Fork of the Eel River, and is still there.

The spill happened when a truck driver crashed through the guardrail on 101, according to investigators.

It happened just south of the Salmon Creek exit from 101 N.

Officials from the California State Parks said they could not confirm for sure if the gas had seeped into the water in the area.

"We don't believe at this time that the spill presents a threat to public health," said Susan Buckley, director of the Public Health Branch of the Department of Health & Human Services.

Neighbors expressed concern Monday that the gasoline will seep into the groundwater.

"The contractors wanted to work fast so it doesn't seep through any farther," said John Miller of California State Parks. "It got into the ground, so it's going to be, I assume, in groundwater eventually."

Clean up efforts are expected to begin Tuesday.

The California Highway Patrol said the tanker overturned after the driver made an unsafe turn.

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time.

The CHP added they do not believe drugs or alcohol were a factor in this crash.

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