An officer with a Roswell-based materials trucking company expects cleanup of an asphalt emulsion spill in Jaybird Canyon in the Gila National Forest to be completed this week.
Dane Marley, CEO of R. Marley LLC, said the company estimates approximately 1,700 gallons of non-toxic material was spilled when one of its trailers delivering road materials for the New Mexico Department of Transportation on the State Highway 15 has come to a narrow stretch. of the road, went onto the shoulder, which “gave a little”, causing the trailer to fall on its side. Marley said about 30% of leaks are water.
According to the state, the location is north of Pinos Altos.
The company has hired environmental remediation and regulatory consultants for the cleanup and is also working with various state and federal agencies, who provide expertise on the area’s wildlife, vegetation, soils and waters and ensure until cleaning is complete.
“We’ve been on the cleanup site for the last few weeks,” Marley said. “We expect to finish this week.”
No one was injured in the Sept. 26 crash, Marley said, and the New Mexico Department of Environment confirmed in an Oct. 21 news release that its Bureau of Hazardous Waste staff determined that the asphalt-emulsion mixture is “not a danger to public health”. .”
Marley added that the materials also do not pose a hazard to wildlife. He described the spilled mixture as asphalt, pine oil and water.
State officials intend to test the interior of the tanker for petroleum chemicals to determine if those chemicals could have been released as well, which may require additional remediation efforts.
The Department of the Environment also issued a “notice of non-compliance” to R. Marley LLC, alleging that the company failed to properly notify the department when the accident first occurred, delaying the state’s response until October 4.
Marley said his company actually immediately contacted state agencies.
“We identified NMDOT, the New Mexico State Police Department and a towing company as soon as this happened,” Marley said.
Marley said the company did not want to blame other agencies, but added that the company was not told to contact the Department of the Environment directly. Now the company is aware, he said, that the Department of the Environment expects direct and immediate notification.
“We will work with the state to resolve this complaint,” he said. “At R. Marley, we learned that we have to go straight to NMED.”
The Department of the Environment said it would work with both NMDOT and the Department of Public Safety, which oversees state police, to update procedures for reporting spills.
The state is also working with the US Forest Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, New Mexico Game and Fish and US Fish and Wildlife to monitor the cleanup.
R. Marley LLC specializes in the transportation of solid waste, petroleum materials, and construction and road materials.
The Gila National Forest in southwestern New Mexico covers approximately 3 million acres in Catron and Grant counties and includes several cities and towns. The US Forest Service has its main forest office in Silver City. According to the state Department of Environment, Jaybird Canyon is part of the stream system that includes Meadow Creek and Sapillo Creek. Sapillo Creek connects to the Gila River.
State officials said the creeks are “state waters with established protections for aquatic life, wildlife habitat, livestock watering, irrigation and recreational contact.”
Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at [email protected].