Fuel Spill Keeps Haz-Mat Crews Busy

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Jonesboro Fire and Haz-Mat crews spent much of the day cleaning up a diesel fuel leak--after a grain truck overturned at Dan Avenue and Highway 63.

Clean up crews were still on the scene late Thursday afternoon, removing contaminated dirt and fuel from the ditch water.

It was a bad spill.

But the consequences could have been much greater.

"Thanks to the fire department their quick actions, initial response to it contained it."

911 Coordinator David Moore's reference to *it* refers to nearly 300 gallons of diesel fuel from the tanks of an overturned grain truck, flowing toward a major drainage ditch.

Battalion Chief Brett Winstead directed the Fire Departments spill containment efforts.

"If it had been a smaller ditch, a second or third you know county line ditch it wouldn't have been a big deal. But right here next to a main waterway it is a big problem."

The accident was called in at 9:11 and while the driver stood aside, the Jonesboro Fire Department immediately went to work to contain the spill. Initially using the rice from the trailer to form a dam until the arrival of the Haz-Mat Truck.

Moore, "Course they bring their own absorbent and they put it down with a leak of this size it was overwhelmed immediately."

Until the fire department was able to get their booms put down. You could see they were using rice from the overturned truck to block off the oil that filtered down from the ditch and heading toward the moving water.

In spite of absorbent pads, absorbent litter and lots of digging and hauling, some fuel did make it into the water. Fire fighters moved downstream about a quarter mile to set up a dam.

Moore, "Absorbent booms that you actually stake out and put across the water and it will skim the top of the water to take the diesel off the top of the water and absorb it."

Haz-Mat incidents are expensive in terms of materials and manpower, both at the time of the incident and the required clean up.According to emergency officials, much of the cost may have to be borne by the owner of the overturned truck.

By late afternoon clean up efforts were underway. Soaking up the fuel and removing contaminated areas.

Winstead "Right now anywhere diesel is on the ground, it will have to be dug up and carried away to a Haz-Mat landfill."

The company in charge of the clean up is B & P Enterprises out of Southhaven, Mississippi.

Workers told me the closest haz-mat landfill is in Tunica.

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