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Cleanup crews work overtime to avoid environmental damage after fatal crash


MENOMONIE, WI (WTAQ) - Cleanup crews have been working 24-7 to avoid environmental damage from a truck crash 10 days ago near Menomonie.

Two Minneapolis men were killed when a semi-truck owned by a Michigan firm slid on a snowy Interstate 94, and plunged into the Red Cedar River. But what we didn’t know at the time was that the truck had almost 24,000 pounds of bagged fertilizer.

The trucking firm’s insurance company has hired a cleanup contractor. Divers and boat crews have been working since last weekend to find and remove the fertilizer.

WQOW-TV in Eau Claire says the product has ammonia that can be toxic to aquatic life. The fertilizer also had an herbicide, but officials say the chemical has floated to the top where it can be easily removed.

Video from the divers shows that live fish have been swimming above the debris – and at last word, there was no evidence of a fish kill.

Almost 210 bags of the fertilizer have been removed from the river. But officials say there’s no way to remove the contents from the other 400 bags that fell out.