Oil tanker crash on Highway 166

An emergency worker cuts a barbed wire fence to allow crews access to a tanker carrying 6,000 gallons of crude oil that rolled over on Highway 166, spilling its cargo into the Cuyama River about 20 miles east of Highway 101 around 6 a.m. Saturday.

Crews are working to clean up crude oil that spilled into the Cuyama River when a tanker truck went off Highway 166 and rolled down an embankment Saturday morning, according to a Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman.

The tanker truck carrying 6,000 gallons of crude oil crashed around 6 a.m. about 20 miles east of Highway 101, and County Fire responded with three engines and a hazardous materials unit with an oil spill containment trailer, the spokesman said.

Officials said the driver was not injured in the crash.

The amount of oil that spilled into the river was not released, but the oil is moving toward Twitchell Dam, the County Fire spokesman said.

Officials had set up three lines of defense against the oil, including a yellow oil boom just below the crash site, then a dirt berm and finally 2-foot square oil absorption pads.

County crews are working to install pipes beneath the site to allow water to continue flowing past the dirt berm, the spokesman said.

In addition to county crews, an oil cleanup company is at the site to pump out whatever oil remains in the tanker and to help clean up the spill, along with units of the California Highway Patrol, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Caltrans and Twitchell Reservoir reclamation.

No closures of the highway were reported as of noon Saturday.


County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.

Recommended for you