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November 1, 2013

Heating oil spilled along six miles of Oakland roads

The spill did not affect area water supplies but did contribute to slick road conditions, according to police

By Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Staff Writer

OAKLAND — Area water supplies were not endangered, but roads for about six miles were slippery after a heating oil delivery truck spilled a small amount of oil on Friday, according to authorities.

click image to enlarge

Shawn Mullen, 46, a delivery driver for Dead River Oil, mops up spilled fuel in front of 256 Belgrade Road in Oakland on Friday. The delivery truck apparently spilled small amounts of oil for about six miles in Oakland while making deliveries, according to a town fire official.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

click image to enlarge

Shawn Mullen, 46, a delivery driver for Dead River Oil, stands to the left of a state police investigator on the top of the oil truck after a fuel spill on Belgrade Road in Oakland on Friday.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

“The situation was handled and at this point we are not pursuing enforcement actions,” said Bob Williams, an oil and hazardous materials responder for the state Department of Environmental Protection. Rain Friday washed oil residue off the top of a Dead River Company truck driven by Shawn Mullen, 46, of Oakland, said Williams.

He said the department is not investigating whether negligence by the company was a factor in the spill, which according to police affected about six miles of roads. Water supplies in area wells were not affected, he said.

A spokesman for the company said there were no problems with the truck that would have caused a leak and that the company was taking the necessary precautions on Friday to clean up the mess.

“We are being cautious and are aware of any potential hazards,” said Michael Levensell, central Maine area manager for Dead River Company. The company delivers propane and heating oil throughout New England.

On Friday small amounts of oil could be traced for about six miles, from the Sidney town line on Snow Pond, Libby Hill and Belgrade roads, said Williams. The total amount of oil spilled was less than five gallons, he said. Officer Michael Sayers of the Oakland Poice Department said he was concerned about the oil contributing to slippery and unsafe road conditions. Even though it was a small amount, it could be dangerous when mixed with the already slippery roads, he said.

Sand was spread on the roads and a small section of Belgrade Road was closed Friday for cleanup. By 1 p.m. there was little to no noticeable oil sheen on the roads, said Williams. A strong smell of oil lingered in the air Friday morning, which Williams said is possible because the sand and pooled rainwater were holding on to the fumes.

The spill was reported about 10 a.m. Friday when a resident noticed that a delivery truck from Dead River was leaking reddish-colored oil in his driveway and giving off a terrible smell.

Frank Esancy, 65, of 264 Belgrade Road, said he walked by the truck in his driveway as it was filling his oil tank and he pointed out what appeared to be a leak to the driver.

“It seemed to be overflowing and he ran to try and stop it,” said Esancy, who reported the problem to police.

Levensell said the tops of the trucks are not cleaned routinely and that over years of use oil can build up. He said he couldn’t comment on any oil that may have spilled while filling the tank in Esancy’s driveway.

Maine State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement also responded.

“It’s a lot of mess, a lot of sand and a lot of manpower to clean this up,” said Esancy as he watched from his porch.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368rohm@centralmaine.com
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