Clean-up nearly complete from tanker spill


Knoxville (WVLT) -- It had the potential to become a rush-hour nightmare when a tanker truck rolled over Monday afternoon spilling thousands of gallons of gas onto busy I-640.

Officials say 99-percent of the clean-up efforts are complete.

The majority of the gasoline was contained to a tributary near Ed Shouse Drive.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman has more.

The tanker now sits up-right and empty. But the clean-up continues after all-night efforts.

Dale Helton and his crew from HEPACO sprung into action within minutes after a 32-ton tanker truck rolled over spilling thousands of gallons of gasoline onto an I-640 interchange.

Helton says, "We were able to get ahead of it before it reached Third Creek. There was some that went into Third Creek a little bit, but the bulk of it we caught."

With a little help from the weather.

Helton says, "With no rain, that was a big help because the creek flows would have went up, and we wouldn't have been able to contain the bulk material."

Crews are using about 2,500 feet of these white floating hydro-carbon booms to soak up the gasoline.

As the gasoline sits on top of the water, the booms collect it.

Helton says, "There'll be boom maintenance going on over the next several days until we probably get a rain event."

And as far as a threat to Third Creek?

Helton says, "TDEC and with Water Quality of Knoxville City and the county and according to them, there really is no danger. Everything is under control."

Helton says that at this point, it's more of a maintenance issue. He adds that right now there's hardly anything going into Third Creek what-so-ever, and that it's more of a sheen than it is actually gasoline itself, "And I think probably within six to 10 days there won't be any remnants of it at all."

HEPACO crews are flushing using tanker trucks to push any small pockets of gas that may have been captured under trees or limbs, leaves or debris.

At this point, they've collected a total of 8,000 gallons of gasoline and water.

The driver, 34-year old Robert Hurtt of Bronston, Kentucky, is charged with failure to maintain control and careless driving.

The tanker is owned by american pride petroleum of Somerset, Kentucky.


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