Updated: Friday, 13 Aug 2010, 7:09 PM MDT
Published : Friday, 13 Aug 2010, 7:09 PM MDT
CUBA, NM (KRQE) - Clean-up of a Santa Fe National Forest creek soiled when a tanker truck rolled over will continue for at least a few more weeks.
Federal, state and local crews have cleaned up a dry arroyo along State Road 126 about 13 miles east of Cuba. The dammed area where the asphalt-oil mix met the water is being cleaned by mixing the contaminated water with sand.
“Normally we're used to oil spills. This is actually asphalt, and it behaved a whole lot differently," said Steve McDonald with the U.S. Forest Service. "We've actually gone through three vacuum trucks in a row.
"When we try and pump it, unlike oil, it actually forms into this thick mass, and the hoses get completely plugged up with this tar-like substance."
Crews said they’re going to continue cleaning the dammed area through the weekend.
Water samples taken from the river on Wednesday still are being evaluated.
“We’re looking for whatever we can find, whatever’s different than the background sample,” said Nina Wells with the New Mexico Environment Department.
Despite that, environmentalists think the water that flows eventually into the Jemez River is not a danger to wildlife or humans.
"We don't have any reason to believe that the contamination has gone past here, so we don't want anyone to be afraid or worry or think we're not going to address any concerns," said Jhana Enders, the on-scene coordinator with the Environmental Protection Agency.