Oil Spill Could Take Weeks to Clean Up Skip to content

Oil Spill Could Take Weeks to Clean Up

By Yelena

Öxnadalsheiði oil spill

A fuel truck transporting 30,000 litres of oil rolled over around noon yesterday on Öxnadalsheiði heath in North Iceland, Vísir reports. Despite quick work from response crews that minimised the spread of oil, the resulting spill could take weeks to clean up.

Crews called out from across the country

The accident occurred yesterday around noon when the tank truck, belonging to company Olíudreifing, rolled over. Firefighters from Akureyri, police, and representatives from the South Iceland Public Health Authority were called to the scene. The driver was transported by ambulance to Akureyri with serious injuries, but is expected to make a full recovery. The Ring Road was closed for around six hours yesterday while crews were at work.

Dammed creek to stop oil spreading

Some 13,000 litres spilled into the surrounding environment as a result of the accident. The other 17,000 litres contained in the truck were pumped out by response crews yesterday. Hörður Gunnarsson, CEO of Olíudreifing, says clean-up efforts, mostly aimed at a creek at the site of the accident, are going well.

“We’ve dammed this creek, that was done right at the start, which saved us from more contamination,” says Hörður. While he says there is still “considerable fuel” in the creek, it is being filtered out using floating pens. Other devices will be brought to the scene today to collect oil from the surface of the creek and pump it away. Hörður adds that the soil in the area is rough and does not absorb much of the oil, which instead has mostly dripped down to the water below.

Cause of accident unknown

The cause of the accident remains unknown. According to Northwest Iceland Police, the vehicle and driver fulfilled all requirements, and the driver’s working hours were within legal limits.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!