Dump truck loses a load
May 12, 2009
A dump truck hauling a load from the Montage construction site last Thursday spilled contaminated dirt and rocks from an attached trailer onto the roadway along a stretch of Deer Valley Drive in Old Town, City Hall officials said.
Ron Ivie, the chief building official, said a safety latch on the trailer, sometimes known as a pup, was not properly secured when the driver left the Montage site in Empire Pass. The driver was heading to an environmental repository at Richardson Flats to deposit the load in a place specially designed to hold the material, Ivie said.
Approximately three tons of rocks and dirt excavated from the Montage site spilled before the driver stopped, officials said. The material contains heavy metals, according to Ivie. The material was collected and disposed of properly after it spilled onto the road, he said. The Police Department was notified at just before 2 p.m.
The Building Department intends to cite the Montage developers and levy a $500 fine, he said. Ivie said the incident is a violation of an agreement between City Hall and the developers that outlines the manner in which the contaminated material is hauled from the Montage site to Richardson Flats.
"It’s important to us that they’re following the protocol of the hauling process," Ivie said.
He said it is the first such case he is aware of involving a truck carrying contaminated material. There have been accidents in the past elsewhere involving dump trucks with payloads that were not contaminated, he said.
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The Police Department issued the driver of the truck a ticket for failing to secure the load, according to Phil Kirk, a police captain. Kirk said investigators found dirt and rocks on Deer Valley Drive between the Old Town roundabout and Aerie Drive. There are a few houses close to the roundabout, but the rest of the section of road where the material was found is not residential.
The city’s Streets Department notified the police of the material on the road, but it was not clear who initially saw the dirt and rocks. Kirk said the incident "very much concerns us."
A representative of the developer did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Ivie said the material was "appropriately cleaned up" afterward. He said the material did not get into soil or waterways.
"It did happen and it shouldn’t have," Ivie said.
The Montage is under construction outside Deer Valley Resort’s Empire Canyon Lodge in the upper reaches of Empire Pass. A massive excavation was needed for the project, and some of the material that was dug out is contaminated. In 2005, when the controversial Empire Pass hauling operation was approved, officials said the material contained lead, zinc and arsenic. It was not immediately clear what contaminants were in the load that was spilled last week.
When the hauling was approved on a split vote by the Park City Council, the supporters argued that it was best that the material be removed from Empire Pass since the location sits at the top of the local watershed.
People who live in the southern parts of Old Town, on streets like Marsac Avenue, were indignant as the earlier discussions unfolded. They were especially worried about a dump truck crashing and spilling a load of contaminated material in the neighborhood.
The contaminated material is left over from Park City’s silver-mining heyday, which stretched from the 19th century until the middle of the 20th century. The Empire Pass land played an important role in the mining industry.