Oil spill collision cleaned up
ORANGE - A public health disaster has been averted thanks to the quick work of local and state emergency personnel after a tanker truck carrying heating oil crashed on Route 34 Saturday, spilling its contents.
Mark Liano, an emergency response coordinator for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said that 90 percent of the spilled heating oil was cleaned up, with the remainder being quickly recaptured.
About 1,000 gallons of heating oil spilled from the tanker Saturday morning at the intersection of Route 34 and Farnbrook Avenue.
Liano said that when the oil spilled, it flowed immediately into a storm drain and then flowed into Two Mile Brook. Clean-up crews were able to dam the brook, and catch most of the oil.
"Because the oil stayed on top of the water, it didn't have a chance to saturate," he said. "If the crash had occurred on soil, it would've been worse, but that condition did not exist."
Liano said the clean-up efforts will remain until the next snow or rain storm. A weather event involving precipitation, he said, will dissipate the oil into the Housatonic River.
The company whose tanker caused the spill, J. P. Noonan Transportation of West Bridgewater, Mass., has retained Clean Harbors Inc. of Braintree, Mass. to oversee the clean up.
A preliminary police investigation revealed Monday that the driver of the truck, Harry Harris, 59, of Springfield, Mass., may have ran the red light at the intersection, causing the crash.
Paul Noonan, a manager at J.P. Noonan, says his company is dedicated to the environment and working to clean up spill quickly. He said that in the trucking industry, spills "tend to happen."
"The residents are pleased (with the clean up)," said Noonan. "No one seemed too concerned."
Lori Amundsen, who live on Route 34 near where the spill occurred, said that the while the effects of the spill was a concern, she was glad that no one was injured.
"It was just so bad," she said of the crash. "We saw it going down into the storm drain, and we have a brook behind us; it is a concern."
Joseph Consiglio, who also lives near the spill site on Route 34, said that he is more concerned about speeding traffic on the road. Noonan speculated that his driver may have been cut off, causing the crash.
"With the traffic on this road, police need to slow people down," he said. "We've been here no less than 20 years, and I've seen no less than eight or nine crashes."
Town Sanitarian Fred. C. Schumacher said that he has not received any phone calls from residents who are worried about effects of the spill. Schumacher surveyed the spill area Monday, and determined that the clean up was going well.
Residents may notice a red tinge and a strong odor of fuel coming from Two Mile Brook. DEP officials say the red tinge is simply a dye used to identify what oil type, and that the smell of heating oil can be detected even in miniscule quantities.
"We're very pleased with the recovery so far," said Liano. "We're going to monitor the brook for the next week."