TOWNSHIP 22, Maine — An accident Tuesday on Route 9 in northern Hancock County resulted in several tons of contaminated soil spilling from an overturned truck onto the roadway and down an embankment, according to officials.
The soil, which had been contaminated with diesel fuel, was being hauled from U.S. Navy property in Cutler to the Juniper Ridge landfill in Old Town, according to Robert Whittier of Maine Department of Environmental Protection. He said contractors spent several hours Wednesday cleaning up the spilled soil.
The accident occurred around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday when the truck hit a patch of slippery road as it was headed west on Route 9, according to Deputy Shane Campbell of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. The truck, a type of dump truck rated for transporting 25 tons of cargo, rolled onto its passenger side and slid, flattening approximately 180 feet of guardrail that kept the truck from going off the pavement and down a 100-foot embankment.
The driver, Marcus Sibley, 57, of Lincoln, suffered a bump on his head and a cut to his hand but otherwise appeared to be OK, Campbell said. If not for the guardrail and the seat belt Sibley was wearing, his injuries could have been much worse, the deputy said.
“He was close [to going down the embankment],” Campbell said. “If the guardrails weren’t there, he would have tumbled down over that.”
Sibley was taken by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where he was treated and then released.
Campbell said poor road conditions caused by bad weather were to blame for the accident.
The truck, estimated to be worth $80,000, was demolished, according to Campbell.
“It was just shredded from the front bumper all the way to the back,” Campbell said.
Traffic alternated between a standstill and intermittently using one lane as personnel dealt with the accident, according to the deputy. Besides the guardrail, the truck hit a utility pole, which brought power lines down into the roadway, he said. State officials had to determine what contaminant was in the soil before the debris could be cleaned up and the dump truck could be righted and moved out of the way.
Whittier, an oil and hazardous material specialist with DEP, said Wednesday that the truck was carrying between 20 and 25 yards of contaminated soil, each yard of which likely weighed between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds. Cleanup contractors were at the scene Wednesday with vacuum trucks, using hoses to suck up the spilled soil so it could resume the trip to the landfill.
He said the same trucks might return to the accident scene today to finish the cleanup.
“It’s a nasty corner,” Whittier said of where the accident occurred.