Salem residents getting tap water from different source amid fuel spill concerns

Photo from Oregon State Police

People in Salem have been getting their water from a different source since late Saturday.

City leaders shut off the valve to the North Santiam River, which normally supplies the city, after a fuel spill in the river. The tap water is coming from groundwater and reservoir sources until tests show the river is safe again, and preliminary results could be in as soon as Monday morning.

The fuel spill happened on Friday night on Highway 22, just easy of Idanha. The driver of a semi-truck hauling 11,600 gallons of unleaded gasoline hit some ice, lost control and crashed, investigators say.

The driver, Ronald Edward Scurlock, of Central Oregon died in the crash.

The tanker caught fire, so some of the fuel burned off, but an unknown amount spilled into the North Santiam River. The city of Salem closed off its valve late Saturday, state officials said.

EPA responders have been testing soil and taking water samples at intakes for Lyons, Detroit Lake, Stayton, Gates and Salem. According to a news release, "Responders didn't smell gasoline and air monitoring didn't detect the presence of volatile organic compounds at those locations."

Highway 22 is closed indefinitely from the east end of Idanha to Santiam Junction because crews need to make major repairs to the roads.

People traveling from the Willamette Valley to Central Oregon should take Highway 20.

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