Sunday, September 13, 2009

Did asphalt trucks declare war on Colorado waters or something?

What the heck is up with these asphalt trucks? Three times now we have had a huge spillage into some river, creek or stream. Poudre got hit twice and now Clear Creek. (In no way am I making light of the death of the driver involved in the Clear Creek incident. My sincere condolences go out to the friends and family.) What I am trying to stress is an obvious lack of safety and monitoring in regards to these large construction vehicles. Mistakes happen. But three times in less than three months is beyond ridiculous.

Incident One:

8/26/2009 A stretch of Colorado Highway 14 in Larimer County will be closed overnight as crews clean up asphalt that spilled into the Cache La Poudre River from a tanker rollover this morning.

The Peterbilt semi hauling 24 tons hot asphalt ran off the highway and rolled into the river at about 10:30 a.m., according to the Colorado State Patrol.
The driver, Kenneth Gale, 52, of Rawlins, Wyo., was taken to Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins for minor injuries. Charges are pending, according to the state patrol.

Incident Two:

9/3/2009 The Larimer County Sheriff's Department said the tanker crashed about 9:37 a.m. Thursday, on Colorado 14 northwest of Fort Collins, dumping 5,000 gallons of asphalt about 3 miles downstream from the earlier incident.

Incident Three:

10/10/2009 IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The driver of an asphalt truck was killed when it rolled at the bottom of Floyd Hill, exiting Interstate 70 Thursday morning.
As a result of the crash, the ramp from westbound I-70 to U.S. 6 and Colo. 119 was closed for more than an hour.

The truck landed in Clear Creek, spilling an unknown amount of asphalt in the creek. Both saddle tanks on the truck also ruptured, spilling 100 gallons of diesel into the creek

Hopefully there is some serious increase in concern and focus on the safety for all large vehicles that travel on Colorado’s mountainous roads that are treacherous and require additional caution. These roads also for the most part follow waterways such as rivers, streams and seasonal drainage. These waterways are crucial for so many reasons. Even after cleanup is done, it will take years if not decades for these areas to recover.

What you can do to help:

Do not dispose of household materials in your sewer and storm drains. In most cases, these drains lead to Colorado waters. You will just be making the problem worse. Dispose of these chemicals properly.

Disinfect, don’t just inspect your boots, waders, flies and other fishing materials as you transfer from one body of water to the other. Just assume you are carrying invasive species and you probably will be correct half of the time.

Don’t leave trash or debris in natural areas as well as pick up any that you do find. A little bit goes a long ways to making things better or at the very least not making them worse.

You may not be able to stop an asphalt truck but you can make things better. Personally I think we all owe a huge responsibility as sportsman to conserve and protect the areas we use for recreation. Conservation, preservation and making fishing better in Colorado is a large part of why ColoradoCasters was formed. I don’t ask for money or sponsored support. What I do ask is that you respect our natural areas. Please don’t assault them with trash, pillage and even asphalt trucks. Fishing in Colorado is good…but could be so much better.

Good luck and Good Fishing.

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