The focus of cleanup work to contain a spill of red diesel fuel from the Iowa Events Center complex has narrowed to two sandbars in downtown Des Moines.
Early efforts centered on installing absorbent booms across the river Oct. 18, the day of the spill’s discovery. Haz-Mat Response out of Omaha and Kansas City installed two booms near the Southeast 14th Street and U.S. Highway 65 bridges to catch any fuel drifting downstream. The booms at U.S. Highway 65 were removed Tuesday.
Although they recovered some fuel at the Southeast 14th Street Bridge, much of the fuel may have stopped at two sandbars in downtown Des Moines. Instead of floating on down river, the fuel particles collected on the sandbar north and east of the Grand Avenue Bridge.
Any fuel not caught there travelled further downstream with much of it ending up on a sandbar south of the Martin Luther King Jr. bridge crossing.
Haz-Mat Response placed booms around both sandbars. They are working at each site using river water to blast the fuel out of the sand so they can recover it. Sunny days on Tuesday and Wednesday and turbulence in the water from the low head dams will also help break down the fuel.
The DNR will meet with Haz-Mat Response Thursday to review progress and determine if further cleanup is needed.
An estimated 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel flowed down a roof drain from a standby generator located on the roof of Hy-Vee Hall. The fuel was discovered in the river about 6:30 a.m. Oct. 18 after it flowed into a storm drain that led to the river. Cleanup of the drains is complete.
For more information contact Ted Petersen at 515-725-0274 or Ted.Petersen@dnr.iowa.gov