Asphalt Spill from Overturned Tanker a Clean-up Challenge

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

Spilled asphalt from the tanker that overturned on U.S. 127 early Monday will be a challenge to clean up, according to the Ingham County Sheriff's Office.

While crews were able to pull the tanker off the highway Monday afternoon, work on the mess it left behind is expected to last into Tuesday.

The tanker, driven by a 60-year-old Macomb man, had come from Toledo and was carrying more than 10,000 gallons of liquid asphalt to the Montcalm County Road Commission.

The rig was moving north when the driver crossed the median and crashed.

"The truck ruptured," Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth said. "The asphalt has run down the median and as you can see hit a culvert and has now spilled over in this swampy area off to the west."

Wrigglesworth says the product is common on the roadway, but not something we want to see in the water supply. So crews attacked the truck from the back and side, cutting holes so they could pump out any remaining asphalt before tipping the tanker upright.

The sheriff's office estimates nearly 9,000 of the 10,000 gallons of asphalt has spilled and that is the primary reason 127 closures will be lengthy. Crews will need to dig out any soil the asphalt has touched and tear out the median to prevent contamination.

"People will just have to be patient as we clean this up," Sergeant Robert Ott, with the Ingham County Sheriff's Office said. "We want the highway to be closed down for the safety of the workers."

The sheriff's office says an environmental cleanup crew will be on scene throughout the night. That crew will also be checking all waterways to ensure the county drain system is safe.

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