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Archive for Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fire crew stops oil spill near creek

June 18, 2008, 2:16 p.m. Updated June 19, 2008, 12:00 a.m.

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An asphalt treatment substance spilled Wednesday near Tonganoxie Creek, prompting fire department crews to throw down sand mixture to prevent the spill from contaminating the creek.

According to Tonganoxie Fire Chief Dave Bennett, he received a call about 11 a.m. that the spill had occurred. He said 300 gallons of tack oil, which is a substance road crews use to bond existing asphalt to new asphalt being applied to roads, spilled from a city vehicle carrying the substance.

The spill occurred northeast of the Tonganoxie City Fire Station near a low-water bridge in the creek.

Bennett said it appeared that residual oil from the valve warmed up from the outdoor temperatures and leaked from the city vehicle, which was parked in an open area next to a wooded area by the creek. A gravel lot between the fire station and the creek also contains storage of a sand-salt mixture the city uses to treat roads in the winter.

Some of that sand was poured on the wooded area. Firefighters used the sand, as well as equipment known as gator tails, to absorb the spill in what Bennett estimated to be about a 1,600 square-foot area. The gator tails, which are a few feet long and resemble elongated sand bags, have a substance in them that absorbs the oil. Dikes were built with the sand for the gator tails and sand was then used as "backfill," Bennett said.

Early Wednesday afternoon, Bennett said he was in contact with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, as well as Leavenworth County Emergency Management director Chuck Magaha, for additional evaluation of the scene.

Bennett said the oil did not seep into the creek and the treated area does not pose any risks to residents.

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