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Creek Cleanup Finished, Water Will be Monitored

September 4, 2012
By SHELLEY HANSON - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WEST LIBERTY - The site of a spill caused by a tanker truck accident has been cleaned up, but will be monitored for another week, said Lou Vargo, Wheeling-Ohio County Emergency Management Agency director.

The accident occurred about 4:30 p.m. Saturday when a tanker hauling synthetic-based drilling fluid - clay and mineral oil - wrecked on W.Va. 88 near Weidman Run Road, West Liberty. The truck landed in the creek and its driver was treated and released from Wheeling Hospital.

Kenneth Mick, operations coordinator for E&S Contracting of Shinnston, W.Va., said the truck driver, whose name he declined to release, is resting at home.

Article Photos

File photo by Shelley Hanson
The site of a spill caused by this tanker truck wrecking into a creek has been cleaned up. The water is slated to be rechecked by the state Department of Natural Resources next week.

"My understanding is that he was preparing to jump from the vehicle. He got the door open and the truck must have impacted the guardrail. ... I think him getting ejected saved his life,'' Mick said, noting the truck's cab was smashed during the accident.

Mick said his company was conducting its own investigation of the accident to see if the truck malfunctioned. On Saturday, Vargo believed the truck's brakes failed.

''We're not sure what happened to make the accident occur,'' Mick said.

Vargo said the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources will test the creek's water Monday. E&S, he said, hired a company to clean the creek. A couple booms have been left in the creek for now.

Mick believes the driver suffered some scrapes and bruises, but may have also tore his rotator cuff.

He noted neither his company nor the driver received any citations from the DNR or law enforcement.

At the scene, resident Frank Williams said that particular section of road is no stranger to vehicle accidents, but this is the first time a tanker has wrecked there. Williams was working on his van's fuel pump when he heard the crack of tree branches and then what sounded ''like an explosion'' on Saturday. He looked up to see the tanker's rear end in the air. It toppled over, landing in the creek about 10 feet from his above-ground swimming pool.

Mick added he wanted people to understand the substance being hauled by the tanker was not the briny, chemical-based fracking fluid that people are accustomed to reading about. It was hauling a synthetic lubricant made of clay and mineral oil, often referred to as "drilling mud," used during the drilling process.

"It's all cleaned up according to federal and state guidelines," Mick said.

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