CHESAW, Wash. – A truck carrying concentrated wastewater from the Buckhorn Mine crashed Tuesday and spilled about 4,200 gallons into Marias Creek.
The spill does not pose a threat to human health, said Mark Ioli, the mine’s general manager.
But pollutants in the water being removed from the mine site may be harmful to fish and acquatic life, the state Department of Ecology said. It was being hauled to the Key Mill tailings impound in Republic, Wash. The agency collected a sample of the water from the truck and sent it to a third party for analysis, said Ecology spokeswoman Joye Redfield-Wilder.
Ioli said the truck driver pulled over on a Forest Service road at about 7 p.m. to let some traffic behind him pass when the shoulder gave way and the truck slid about 50 feet down a bank and landed on its top.
Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said the driver was taken to a hospital with bumps and bruises.
The spilled water contained concentrations of nitrates and sulfates that were removed from water collected from the mine and treated at the mine’s wastewater treatment plant.
He said the truck driver works for Stotts Construction, which is under contract with Crown Resources Corp. to haul the wastewater from the mine’s treatment plant.