Fertilizer spill 'not hazardous'

This photo of the Wallowa County Grain Growers fertilizer truck spill last Wednesday was captured by hunter Laura Dougherty of Scappoose from the road along the Grande Ronde River.

An estimated 10,000 pounds of a dry commercial fertilizer spilled on the Redmond Grade above Troy Wednesday morning, Oct. 15, when the trailer of a Wallowa County Grain Growers (WCGG) truck driven by Fred Harris got too close to the shoulder of the road.

The truck, headed down the grade, met a pickup pulling a horse trailer coming up the narrow, windy grade on a corner. The pickup had driven past when the back trailer of the truck hit a soft spot, went off the road and spilled part of its load.

"It isn't considered hazardous," said WCGG manager Jim Butner about the fertilizer, Urea. "There will just be a lot of grass growing there in a couple of years." He noted that it was very fortunate the trailer didn't pull the truck and driver off the road down the very steep slope.

Even though the accident didn't happen near water, the Department of Environmental Quality's emergency response system was contacted. DEQ confirmed there was no reason for concern about the spill.

Butner said they were able to clean up about a third of the spill. A Wallowa County CAT was able to pull the trailer back on the road.

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