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Deer Creek Reservoir

Deer Creek Reservoir Diesel Spill

On Thursday, April 24, 2014, a semitrailer carrying hundreds of live turkeys crashed into Deer Creek Reservoir, spilling approximately 100 gallons of diesel fuel into the water. First responders deployed multiple booms to contain the spill. According to a spokesperson for the Wasatch County Health Department, the spill appeared to be entirely contained by late Thursday afternoon.


Crews collected four samples inside and outside of the boom (232 KB). These samples were sent to American West Analytical Laboratories for analysis. Lab results (364 KB) showed the following values for diesel fuel constituents inside the boom:

  • 3.52mg/l Diesel Range Organics (DROs)
  • Non detect for all Volatile Organic Analysis (VOAs)* except 0.2 mg/l Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) C6-C10 (Gasoline Range Organics), which is just at the detection limit of 0.2 mg/l

Values were lower outside the boom and mid channel:

  • Mid channel: Non detect for DROs and all VOAs
  • Southwest of boom: Non detect for DROs and  all VOAs
  • Northeast of boom: 1.34 mg/l DRO, non detect for all VOAs

*VOAs includes BTEX: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene

These results are consistent with the small amount of diesel spilled into the reservoir. Dispersion from wind and wave action, combined with continued cleanup of any remaining sheen, should reduce levels such that it is unlikely any detectable values will remain in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Crews collected E. coli samples after the spill to test for contamination from the turkeys and their contents of their cages. Deer Creek’s designation as a Class 2A (Primary Contact Recreation) and Class 1C (Drinking Water) water body includes numeric criteria for E. coli.

DWQ’s applicable not-to-exceed criteria for an E. coli grab sample are expressed as a Most Probable Number/100 ml water (MPN/100 ml). Numeric criteria for these classifications are as follows:

  • Class 2A (Primary Contact Recreation): A maximum concentration of 409 MPN per 100 ml.
  • Class 2B (Secondary Contact Recreation) and Class 1C (Drinking Water): A maximum concentration of 668 MPN per 100 ml.

Values inside the boom (1413.6 MPN/100ml) and northeast of the boom (980.4 MPN/100 ml) violated these DWQ criteria. However, the contamination appears to be isolated to the spill area. Other sampling points measured within the limits:

  • Mid Channel : <1 MPN/100ml (minimum detection limit of test)
  • Southwest of Boom: 46.4 MPN/100ml

Contamination should disperse readily once the sources of the contamination (turkeys and cages) are removed.

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