DEP to speak to Wallagrass residents about gas spill

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 26, 2011, at 6:12 p.m.

WALLAGRASS, Maine — Nearly four months after 5,000 gallons of gasoline spilled along a community roadway, the state Department of Environmental Protection continues its cleanup effort. A public hearing to let area residents know how that effort is going has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Wallagrass Elementary School.

Representatives from the DEP, the project manager for the cleanup effort, a claims specialist and an emergency spill responder will be present for the event, according to Samantha Depoy-Warren, spokeswoman for the DEP. Officials will update the community on the remediation efforts including the progress of a new vapor extraction system.

The spill took place on May 31 after a tractor-trailer belonging to the John T. Noble trucking company of Caribou overturned on Route 11. Investigators said that a medical problem led the truck’s driver, Joe Nichols, to lose control of the vehicle after it drifted into the soft shoulder of the roadway and became unstable.

The truck was hauling 8,000 gallons of gasoline for Daigle Oil Co. of Fort Kent at the time of the crash. An estimated 5,000 gallons spilled and seeped into the ground when a tank was breached.

Officials from the DEP are working with Stantec, an environmental consultant hired by the the trucking company’s insurance company, to handle site remediation.

Shortly after the spill, crews found the presence of petroleum compounds above maximum exposure guidelines at one well directly adjacent to the spill site and trace concentrations of contamination at three others. As part of the cleanup effort, crews also have drilled recovery and monitoring wells.

The DEP estimates that approximately 1,200 gallons of gas have been recovered. An unknown volume has evaporated.

A new ground water remediation system has been running since Sept. 2.

“We also want to assure residents of their continued safety as we are still confident that no one in the community is at risk as we still have only found the presence of petroleum compounds above maximum exposure guidelines in one well, directly adjacent to the spill site,” said Depoy-Warren.

For information about the meeting and the cleanup effort, go to http://maine.gov/dep/rwm/wallagrass/ .

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/09/26/news/aroostook/dep-to-speak-to-wallagrass-residents-about-gas-spill/ printed on October 25, 2014