Thatcher Trucking Co. Tanker Truck Accident Hydrochloric Acid Spill

State TrusteeAO Bureau

Also Known As

Incident Type




Case Status



North Fork of John Day River


Contaminants of Concern Include

Affected DOI Resources Include

Threatened and Endangered Species, Anadromous Fish, Migratory Birds

Financial Summary

Restoration Funds Collected:


*Restoration Funds Allocated:


*Restoration Funds Remaining:


* Restoration Funds can contain multiple settlements/projects. All collections are placed in interest bearing accounts. For detailed information on individual settlements/ projects please visit: NRDAR Status Report

Case Description

On February 8, 1990, a tanker truck owned and operated by Thatcher Trucking Company of Salt Lake City, Utah, skidded off Highway 395 and rolled down an embankment into the North Fork of the John Day River in north-central Oregon. An estimated 3,500 gallons, or 33,500 pounds, of hydrochloric acid was discharged into the river and flowed downstream at an approximate rate of one mile per hour.

The spill drastically changed the pH of the river water resulting in extensive mortality and injury to fish resources. An estimated 98,000 to 145,000 fish were destroyed, including 4,000 anadromous fish, 300 bull trout, and 9,500 Pacific lamprey. Additionally, 50 percent of the chinook salmon alevins in the area impacted by the spill were estimated to have been killed. Aquatic mammals, waterfowl, and endangered species which utilize the John Day River Basin may also have been directly or indirectly impacted by the spill.

Case Documents

 Document TypeDocument NameDocument Date


 Restoration Agreement Restoration Agreement 06/10/1992


 Consent Decree Consent Decree-Thatcher Company 10/02/1992


 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment Restoration Plan 08/01/1994

Map View

Case Contact

Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office

Portland, OR | (503) 231-6179 |

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