Army Tanker Truck Wrecks, Spills Fuel

Mar 6, 2018

Updated: A state Department of Environmental Conservation report issued Tuesday night  says an Army tanker truck that crashed Sunday near Harding Lake leaked 800 gallons of fuel within about 50 feet of a slough that leads into the Tanana River.

Fort Wainwright personnel retrieved the wrecked Army tanker Monday afternoon. Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation advised motorists to watch for ongoing cleanup work at the site near milepost 318 of the Richardson Highway.
Credit ADOT&PF

The tanker’s 2,600-gallon tank was carrying 1,150 gallons of JP-8 when the rig slid off the Richardson Highway near milepost 318 at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday. DEC spill program manager Tom DeRuyter says JP-8 is a kerosene-based fuel that the Army uses for both aircraft and vehicles.

“That’s a product that’s very similar to diesel fuel. It’s what the Army runs in all of their vehicles,” he said.

DeRuyter says Army contractor personnel from Fort Wainwright were working to clean up the spill through Tuesday, with help from DEC and Alaska State Troopers. The wrecked tanker was pulled back to Wainwright Monday afternoon.

A U.S. Army Alaska spokesperson says the tanker was headed back to the post from a field training exercise when the accident occurred.

The DEC report raises concern that the leaked fuel could contaminate the Tanana River. A situation report issued by DEC says fuel that leaked from the tanker has contaminated snow and soil. The report says that could flow into the slough and then the Tanana, possibly harming salmon in the river.

Personnel with DEC and an Army contractor are working on a plan to remove contaminated snow and soil, the report said. 

An investigation into the crash continues.

Earlier story, posted Monday morning:
An Army tanker truck crashed and spilled fuel Sunday near Harding Lake. The soldier driving the rig is OK, but State Department of Environmental Conservation spill program manager Tom DeRuyter says an undetermined amount of fuel leaked from the truck’s 2,600-gallon tank.

“The vehicle went off the road and down an embankment, and came to rest about 30 feet away from a small slough or tributary that goes out to the Tanana River,” DeRuyter said Monday. “There was a release. They got the hole plugged up within about 30 minutes.”

DeRuyter says Army personnel from Fort Wainwright were working to contain the spill, and that the DEC and Alaska State Troopers have also been on scene. The state Transportation Department was advising drivers Monday of possible delays around milepost 317 while the cleanup continues.

“We’re just trying to keep traffic controlled in that area, so we don’t have another accident while we’re working on this one,” he said.

A Fort Wainwright spokesperson says the tanker was headed back to post from a field training exercise when the accident occurred. Area roads are slick with ice and crews are working overtime to plow snow dumped from recent successive storm systems across the region.