A tractor-trailer rig traveling eastbound on N.M. 4, northwest of the junction of N.M. 4 and 501, missed a sharp curve and fell about 200 feet down a steep slope into Bandelier Tuesday spewing paint in all directions. CourtesyNPS
Bandelier National Monument Park staff is in the process of identifying the toxicity of the paint and assessing its impacts to the environment that was splattered in the forest Tuesday when a tractor-trailer rig traveling eastbound on New Mexico State Highway 4, northwest of the junction of N.M. 4 and 501, missed a sharp curve and fell about 200 feet down a steep slope into Bandelier.
The truck was carrying about 2,200 gallons of highway striping paint. In the impact, paint spread over nearly an acre area within the park, and the truck’s gas tank leaked diesel fuel as well. The driver survived.
The paint spill is visible from roads and hiking trails in and around the monument. By Wednesday, the paint had congealed, allowing workers to remove the clumps by hand and showing minimal subsurface damage.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory Hazardous Materials Team minimized the spread of the diesel fuel.
Bandelier is working withLANL, New Mexico State Police, Los Alamos Police Department, Los Alamos Fire Department and New Mexico Department of Transportation to investigate safety issues and threats to vulnerable resources in the affected area of the monument.
The spill is about nine miles by road from the park Visitor Center area and the main trail to the archeological sites, and the vast majority of visitors will not be affected by the accident.
On some days, there will be travel delays or occasional closures along N.M.4 in the area of the spill during cleanup operations.