Trucking Company Agrees to Cleanup Plan After Toxic Spill
Drivers in the freight industry know that accidents are always a possibility. When it comes to this threat, the severity sometimes depends on what the driver is hauling.
Truckers have ended up spilling food, drinks, even marbles on America’s roadways during accidents. But one truck driver in Roanoke County ended up in a controversial situation when their accident saw toxic material cover a large area and affect several wells.
It’s been three years since a driver operating for Nichols Transport was hauling embalming fluid, heading toward a local funeral home with the hazardous cargo. An accident occurred, and the heavy load of dangerous liquid ended up spilling of a steep mountain and leading to the evacuation of multiple locations.
Nearly two dozen homes and businesses were evacuated when the accident occurred. Locations near the bottom of the hill were at higher risk, and emergency crews spent about twelve hours handling the initial spill before allowing residents to return to these locations.
Three years after the major accident near Windy Gap, the carrier has agreed to a cleanup plan. The company will end up replacing around half a dozen wells, all of which were private, after they were contaminated in the accident.
The company worked with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to reach an agreement, finding a way to help the area bounce back a bit after 4,500 gallons of formaldehyde presented some of the most pressing safety concerns in the history of the area.
In 2014, water tests showed four wells were fine according to DEQ reports. However, a well tested positive for the chemical in late 2015. The carrier has agreed to replace it, along with others that were affected.
Some trace amounts of the chemical are still showing up, but the diminishing levels have officials less than worried. In some areas, the best course of action according to the professionals involves letting the remaining amount dissipate naturally.
Nichols Transport will submit a cleanup plan as part of their agreement, which will be reviewed by the DEQ. The plan is likely to feature such conditions as groundwater monitoring and the replacement of other systems as needed.