Creek Fills With Soap After Semi Wreck on I-81 - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Creek Fills With Soap After Semi Wreck on I-81

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If you got caught driving in the heavy rain on I-81 north near mile marker 168 in Botetourt County Tuesday, you may have noticed two things besides the frustrating traffic.

This first was a tractor-trailer that ran through the guard rails and into Purgatory Creek. Virginia State Trooper Sergeant John Thompson says the driver lost control because of the wet roads.

The driver wasn't hurt, but it's a stretch of the road some people living here say is known for accidents.

"I avoid going through there," resident Andy Gillium says.

The second, and what really caught Gillium's eye, was the creek filling up with soap.

"It's pretty amazing, pretty much a one-of-a-kind of thing," Noah Gillium says.

Allen Linkenhoker, a pollution response coordinator with the Virginia Department of Environment Quality, says the soap is from the dish detergent bottles that fell out of the over-turned tractor-trailer.

His concern is how the chemicals will affect the creek and everything living in it.

"It can harm aquatic life," Linkenhoker says. "The pH is neutral, but it's still not good for the fish. It can foul their gills. It can use up their oxygen in the water as it decays. It's not a healthy situation for a creek by any means."

Linkenhoker says he hasn't noticed any harm to the fish yet, but it's a situation he will continue to monitor.