Oil Spill Investigation

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Fremont County authorities are investigating what they call "a major oil spill," after heavy waste oil from a ten-thousand-gallon tank oozed down an embankment and eventually into the Arkansas River.

The accident occurred Wednesday at Fremont Paving and Redi-Mix.

The exact size of the spill isn't known, but emergency management director Ray Southard estimates "several thousand gallons" of oil leaked from the tank.

The oil contaminated parts of the Fremont irrigation ditch, Chandler and Oak creeks, and the Minnequa Canal. Sumo Golf Course officials discovered oil in the canal's holding pond, but turned off pumps before they sprayed tainted water all over the grass.

Fremont Paving has hired a Colorado Springs environmental firm to finish the cleanup.

A spokesman with the Environmental Protection Agency says the spill no longer appears to be a threat to the river, calling the accident a "local issue" until investigators find otherwise.

The cause of the leak is unknown.

(Thanks: Dennis Bloomquist, KRLN-AM/Canon City)