State and local agencies are continuing to investigate a diesel fuel spill that leaked into the Myrtle Creek drinking water system Monday morning.

By Tuesday morning, water customers are being advised not to use water for any purpose until further notice.

The precise cause of the spill is not yet known. Myrtle Creek Mayor Matt Hald said the spill appeared to occur on Springbrook Road.

The city shut off the Springbrook Water Treatment Plant at 10 a.m. Monday after residents reported a gasoline smell in their water. The South Umpqua Water Treatment Plant, the city’s secondary water source, was activated about 10:30 a.m. and the city began flushing the distribution system.

City officials expected Umpqua Research Company to complete an analysis of water samples throughout the system by noon Tuesday. The company is analyzing the water for organic compounds contained in fuel.

Public Works Director Quinn Pickering was at the water treatment plant and unavailable for comment Tuesday morning.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is working to contain and clean the water system. DEQ officials met with officials from the city and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday morning, according to DEQ spokeswoman Katherine Benenati.

They planned to take initial abatement measures including covering the spill area and placing absorbent materials in the water to keep the water from moving down stream, Benenati said. DEQ expected to finish excavating contaminated soil at the spill site Tuesday.

Residents who might have consumed or been exposed to the water should contact their doctor immediately and mention the water issue if they experience any negative health effects, said Oregon Health Authority spokesman Jonathan Modie.

Hald said the city is lucky to have a secondary drinking water system.

“It doesn’t take a whole lot of diesel to contaminate something like that,” Hald said.

City Recorder Josh Norton said the city would provide an update as soon as one is available.

News-Review city reporter Max Egener can be reached at and by phone at 541-957-4217.

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City Reporter

Max Egener is the city reporter for The News-Review. He has a master's degree from the University of Oregon, and is an avid skier and backpacker.

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