ME Latex Paint Spill Under Investigation


The Maine Department of Environmental Protection recently announced that approximately 1,000 gallons of white latex paint spilled onto the floor of the GAC Chemical Corporation building, prompting an investigation.

The incident occurred on Sept. 22 and was reported by the DEP on Sept. 30, the Penobscot Bay Pilot found.

“Based on interviews and observations by DEP staff at GAC after the spill, it appears approximately 1,000 gallons of a white latex paint base was spilled from a tank onto the floor of the building,” said DEP Deputy Commissioner David Madore. “All of this, other than approximately three gallons, was recovered from the building.”

According to Madore, approximately three gallons escaped through cracks between the building concrete floor and wall, into the gravel subfloor and into an adjacent drainage ditch.

“GAC set up pumps in the drainage ditch to collect the material that had mixed with groundwater and stormwater,” he said. “This mixture of material and groundwater and stormwater has been shipped off site to a licensed wastewater treatment facility.  

“GAC is continuing to monitor the drainage ditch to capture any remaining material that may seep from the gravel pad under the building and will be sealing the cracks between the building floor and wall.”

However, the Maine DEP said a small amount of a polystyrene component had also spilled, with its hazmat team responding to the reported chemical spill. Madore said afterwards that “very little amount of a polystyrene component was found to be involved” and “there was no need for additional action on their part.”

GAC is a manufacturer and distributor of chemicals, as well as a producer of ammonium sulfate, liquid alum, sodium aluminate, aqua ammonia, liquid urea, polyvinyl alcohol, hollow sphere plastic pigment and coatings. 

Results from the investigation were reportedly anticipated by the end of last week. The Searsport Code Enforcement Office was notified of the incident, according to reports, but declined to comment on the investigation.

Other Recent Paint Spill

Last month, a truck reportedly spilled paint across a highway in Montreal, Canada, staining the road white and prompting a hours-long cleanup.

According to a spokesperson for Quebec’s provincial police force the Sûreté du Québec, the driver braked suddenly, causing the spill. The paint covered the eastbound lanes of the highway as vehicles drove through the spilled paint.

Images of the scene reportedly reveal that white tire tracks coated much of the highway and obscured lane markers for hundreds of meters.

The SQ is investigating whether the paint was properly secured inside the truck and said the driver could receive a fine if it wasn't. It was a “massive spill,” the Transports Québec spokesperson said, and kept the highway closed for six hours as cleanup crews worked to get the paint off the highway.

Quebec’s Urgence-Environment agency called in vacuum trucks, street-cleaning vehicles and workers with pressure washers to remove the paint from the roadway, CBC reported.

While some of it had reportedly seeped into a sewer, most of the paint dried on the road and was water-based, which made the cleanup easier than if it had been oil-based, the agency said. The environmental impact of the spill was minimal, Urgence-Environnement added.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Cleanup; Coating Materials - Commercial; Construction chemicals; Environmental Protection; Good Technical Practice; hazardous materials; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Latex; NA; North America; Paint; Program/Project Management; Safety

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.