Sequim irrigation water back on after truck crash

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– The water system for a Highland Irrigation ditch was turned back on Thursday afternoon after a daylong shutoff followed a dump truck crash near River Road on Wednesday afternoon.

Steve Gaither, ditch walker for Highland, said the company had to turn off its system as crews cleaned up diesel and motor oil that spilled after the crash.

A driver hauling rock from the Haller pit for use in the state’s project to widen U.S. Highway 101 between Kitchen-Dick and Shore roads west of Sequim was taken to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles for treatment of an injured shoulder after the crash, according to Ben Andrews, assistant chief for the fire district.

Name not released

The department did not release the driver’s name because of privacy concerns.

The truck was towing a pup trailer down a service road from the quarry. The pup trailer apparently lost the use of its brakes and slid into the ditch, pulling the truck on top of it, Andrews said.

The crash damaged one of two 30-gallon tanks on the truck, according to Linda Kent, spokeswoman for the state Department of Ecology.

An estimated 20-25 gallons of diesel oil spilled into the ditch.

Kent said the truck also leaked hydraulic fluid and motor oil into the ditch.

Emergency crews worked late Wednesday to deploy absorbent pads and booms to contain the oil and diesel.

They turned off the irrigation system to allow the oil to flow out, Gaither said.

By Thursday afternoon, what was left in the ditch was being skimmed off the top by booms.

Fire district crews retrieved the oil spill response trailer from John Wayne Marina to clean up the spill along with Clallam County Emergency Management, the Department of Ecology spill response team, Highland Irrigation district and Scarsella Brothers.

Andrews said fire district personnel spent 5 hours on the scene before turning the incident over to Ecology and Scarsella Brothers.

Kent noted the ditch is not a fish passage, and the spill was quickly contained, which limited its damage.

There was no contamination found in Johnson Creek, where the ditch flows out, she said.


Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at

Last modified: June 27. 2013 5:47PM
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