Source of Donner Summit fuel spill found
TRUCKEE – Officials found the source of a fuel pipeline leak, buried beneath the snow on Donner Summit above Sugar Bowl Ski Academy, late Monday night after a search that lasted for days.
This afternoon, crews removed the damaged stretch of 8-inch multi-product fuel line and welded a new section in its place. They pressure tested the pipe and expected the line to be running by this evening, said Rob Hughes, Department of Fish and Game information officer.
Weather hampered the search for the source of the leak over the weekend, although officials were able to commence the search Monday morning, Hughes said.
“(Sunday) was terrible. We had to shut the operation down. It was white-out conditions. It was too dangerous to be out there,” said Hughes, who was at a temporary command center set up at Donner Ski Ranch Monday morning.
A skier at Donner Ski Ranch reported a fuel smell to authorities on Friday.
There has been no apparent health risk nor harm to animals due to the spill, Hughes said. A Department of Fish and Game biologist took water samples around the pipe and in surrounding waterways.
“There was some sheen [next to the pipe],” he said. “None of the fuel has reached any of the main waterways or tributaries.”
Officials set up an oil-absorbent boom and coffer dam to prevent fuel from reaching lakes and streams around the spill. Cleanup crews used a vacuum truck to clean up the fuel around the leak.
Kinder Morgan, one of the nation’s largest fuel transportation and storage companies, owns the pipeline, which runs from San Francisco, over Donner Summit, to Reno.
County, fire crews and U.S. Forest Service personnel and a Department of Fish and Game biologist worked to address the spill.
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