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.