On February 3, 2018, at approximately 10:00 AM local time a tanker truck was involved in a multi vehicle accident causing the tanker truck to overturn. One of the vehicles in the car accident suffered a fatality. The tanker overturned on US HWY 41 at the Sturgeon River bridge approximately 1.25-miles southeast of Chassell in Houghton County, Michigan. The highway was completely closed through Saturday night and has now been opened to a single lane of traffic.
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The tanker was carrying clear diesel fuel and gasoline that leaked onto the road surface and migrated onto the frozen surface of the Sturgeon River. The release volume was estimated at 4,000 gallons of gasoline and 400 gallons of diesel. Two residences are located immediately adjacent to the release area and air monitoring is being conducted to monitor public health in the local community and worker safety.
The Chassell Fire Department and other area first responders provided initial containment and recovery work. U.S. EPA mobilized to lead and oversee spill recovery and public health response. Subsequently the truck owner, Klemm Tank Lines, retained local contractors and mobilized additional response contractors to mitigate the release.
Efforts are ongoing by the truck owner, US EPA, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, US Coast Guard, Michigan Department of Transportation, Chassell Township Fire Department, Houghton County Emergency Management and others to recover the spilled fuel from the land and Sturgeon River, and to assess the full extent of the spill's impact.