A semi accident Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 80 in eastern Iowa injured the driver and dumped 42,000 pounds of paint material into a small stream that leads to the Iowa River. The driver’s name and condition have not been released. Alan Foster, an environmental specialist with the Iowa DNR, says the truck’s cargo created quite a mess.
"Most of it was paint chips and a paint resin," Foster says, "I’m not sure what it was going to be used for…it was in route from Davenport to Des Moines when the accident occurred." The DNR built a dam to keep the material from reaching the Iowa River, but the dam broke Wednesday night.
Foster says, fortunately, the spill settled in a city park in Iowa City. He says they’re pumping the water and paint resin mix through a manhole in the park to the city’s wastewater treatment facility. Foster says the spill is very visible, since the paint residue turned the stream white in color.
"We’ve been told it doesn’t pose much of an environmental threat," Foster says, "but we are double checking that right now to find out exactly what is in that material and what kind of chemical makeup it has."