Truck spills road oil on highway near CavalierThe North Dakota Highway Patrol, a construction company and health officials worked in tandem through most of Tuesday to clean up about 5,000 gallons of road oil, some of which spilled into a roadside ditch following a rollover accident Monday evening near Cavalier, N.D.
By: By Erik Burgess, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
The North Dakota Highway Patrol, a construction company and health officials worked in tandem through most of Tuesday to clean up about 5,000 gallons of road oil, some of which spilled into a roadside ditch following a rollover accident Monday evening near Cavalier, N.D.
A semi, which was pulling two trailers of oil, rolled into the ditch off N.D. Highway 18 about 6 p.m. Monday. The truck was headed to Cavalier from Manitoba, the patrol said in an accident report, when the driver began drifting off the road, overcorrected and rolled into the ditch about five miles northeast of Cavalier.
North Dakota health officials said the spill was not a danger to wildlife, as the thick, viscous road oil — also called liquid asphalt — would basically pool and remain in the ditch.
“As far as spills go, this is one is fairly environmentally benign,” said Mike Sauer, a senior scientist with the Division of Water Quality for the Department of Health. “It’s black, oily material (and) fairly viscous, so it doesn’t run real well.”
Sauer said the spill was being contained in small section of the ditch — about one-eighth of a mile — and was about one mile from the nearest open water source, the Tongue River.
Mayo Construction, out of Cavalier, was called in to clean up the spill. Greg Mayo, owner, said they were asked to assist because of their proximity to the spill. He said their crew worked Tuesday to empty the oil from the trailers so the truck could be righted and moved off scene. He suspected their work would be completed today.
Mayo said that it was unlikely that all 5,000 gallons spilled into the ditch, and that it was more likely that most of that oil remained in the trailer.
“The tank didn’t rupture or anything,” he said. “I would think it probably just spilled out of an overflow cap.”
He speculated the actual amount spilled into the ditch only numbered in the hundreds of gallons, but about 5,000 gallons total had been removed from the scene because they had to empty the trailer before it could be righted.
Mayo said his crew would finish the job by replacing top soil and throwing seed into the excavated ditch.
Liquid asphalt is used in thin layers to smooth out road surfaces and correct any ruts or bumps, Mayo said.
“The good thing about liquid asphalt — it’s non-toxic,” he said. “It doesn’t move very fast, so it’s easy to contain the spill.”
Sauer said an assessor would visit the crash site within the next week to make sure all of the oil has been removed from the ditch, including any oil that’s seeped down deeper into the soil.
The semi was driven by Jakob Neumann, 24, of Manitoba. According to the patrol, he was taken to Pembina County Memorial Hospital but released Tuesday with minor injuries. The trailers belonged to Renaissance Transport out of Brandon, Manitoba.
Erik Burgess is a reporter at the Grand Forks Herald,
which is owned by
Forum Communications Co.