6 Tons of Paint Spilled on Australian Highway
At the end of last month, a delivery truck lost control and rolled over onto its side in Australia, spilling six tons of paint onto the highway.
While some reports have described the spill as something “akin to a Jackson Pollock painting,” the Fire and Rescue New South Wales worked to clean up the paint and keep it contained to protect the local area from damage.
On the morning of Jan. 28, a light truck rolled over on the Princes Highway in Illawarra after taking a “hairpin turn” at Bulli Pass. The vehicle was reportedly delivering six tons of paint to Bunnings Warehouse sites.
Fire and Rescue NSW specialist rescue and hazardous materials crews responded, alongside the Rural Fire Service and other emergency services to the scene, around 10 a.m.
“Around half the tins are damaged,” Fire and Rescue NSW Duty Commander Chad Wallace said at the time. “There is around 1,000 liters of paint that has flown onto the road and up to 2,000 liters that are now liquid inside the back of the truck.”
While one lane was shut down, crews worked to remove the water-based paint. Emergency services reportedly used shovels to create a dam to prevent the paint from travelling down the steep road.
Firefighters also used absorbent material and booms to contain the contents of hundreds of punctured paint cans. A heavy haulage recovery contractor righted and recovered the truck, Fire and Rescue NSW reported.
Wallace said that while “any paint spill is hard to clean up,” the amount of paint on the road was expected to take many hours of clean-up. Additionally, Fire and Rescue NSW explained that paint is regarded as an environmental pollutant and would have caused significant damage to the local area if not contained.
The driver was not injured, and there were no other vehicles involved in the incident.
“The driver had a very lucky escape and managed to get out of the truck himself,” Wallace said. “It was also a miracle no other cars were taken out as they were going up or coming down Bulli Pass.”
Paint Spills in the US
Late last April, several agencies in Austintown, Ohio, worked to clean up nearly 1,000 gallons of spilled paint on a section of North Meridian Road.
As reported by The Vindicator, crews from the Austintown fire department were called to the scene on Meridian Road around 8 a.m. on April 26 where nearly 1,000 gallons of yellow and white latex paint had fallen off a truck, spilling into the roadway and on nearby vehicles.
Several drums of paint reportedly fell off the flatbed truck when the driver stopped abruptly to avoid another vehicle turning in front of him. At the time, the truck was on its way to the Mahoning County Engineer’s Office.
Austintown Fire Chief Andy Frost said officials spent seven hours working on the cleanup. Throughout that time, crews worked to keep paint from entering any sewer catch basins with the help of vacuum systems and absorbent clay granules.
Any dried paint was scraped, the surface was sanded, and all remaining materials were collected. Frost went on to note that the area has a protocol for cleaning up hazardous materials and that everything been disposed of properly.
After the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that no traces of paint made it to the water supply and cleaning efforts ceased, the scene was cleared. According to WKBN Channel 27 News, the driver of the flatbed has been cited on a charge of assured clear distance and his company will be responsible for paying the costs of cleanup.
Also in April, a truck owned by home improvement retail company Lowe’s accidentally dropped a container of white paint on Kelly Avenue in Edmond, Oklahoma. While it hasn’t been determined what caused the spill, around 9 a.m. on April 20, the container fell from the truck, causing a large amount of white paint to splash on nearby cars.
As a result of the incident, Lowe’s called a cleaning contractor to handle the situation on the road. In addition, the retailer asked that anyone affected by the spill should call the store so that Lowe’s could place an insurance claim to take care of detail and repair costs.
And, in February last year, a 4,000-gallon tanker was reported to lose between 50 and 350 gallons of paint along East Fair Street in Kankakee, Illinois, while leaving a Valspar paint manufacturing plant. The spill caused the closure of nearby Route 50 in both directions from Grinnell Road to North Harrison Avenue. North Hobbie Avenue was also closed from East Willow Street to Route 50.
At the time, the spill was reported to be the result of an unsecured hatch on the transportation vehicle.
As a result of the incident, Kankakee firefighters were called to the scene. Members of the MABAS 7 Hazmat team and representatives of the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency, which runs the wastewater treatment plant, were also present.
Cleanups took place over the course of the weekend following the spill, with roadways reportedly opening in stages.
After cleanup efforts were completed, Kankakee Fire Chief Bryan LaRoche informed the Kankakee City Council that an estimated 450 gallons of waste product associated with the manufacture of paint had been spilled by truck hauling company, Action Enterprise.
Since then, The Sherwin-Williams Company-owned Valspar plant has received 34 claims. According to Daily Journal, of the 34 claims filed thus far, 33 are in relation to personal filings for damaged vehicles driving through the spill and one property damage suit as well.
While the spill was initially assumed to be the result of an unsecured hatch, officials are now reporting that the circumstances of the spill have not yet been determined.
LaRoche also informed reporters that Sherwin-Williams has been going “above and beyond” in working to rectify the issue.