Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 12, 2003

Boom truck spills diesel, hydraulic fluid near lake

By Lynda Jensen

A boom truck attempted to pass under the railroad bridge at Wright County Road 6, knocking into the bridge, and spilling more than 60 gallons of diesel fuel near the southwestern shores of Howard Lake last Monday.

Quick action by the Howard Lake Fire Department prevented most of between 60 and 75 gallons of diesel fuel, as well as several gallons of hydraulic fluid, from reaching the lake.

The accident occurred at about 5:20 a.m., when driver Jonathan Walters, 31, of Buffalo, going southbound, attempted to pass under the bridge, according to the Wright County Sheriff's report.

The clearance at the bridge is labeled as being 11 feet, seven inches. Walters indicated that the crane clearance was 13 feet, according to the accident report.

The truck is owned by McCormick Crane of Rockford.

Several members of the department responded to the scene, working about four hours there, Fire Chief Joe Drusch commented.

Bruce Zander and the city deserve credit for using the city's payloader to create a dike between the toxic spill and a nearby catch basin, Drusch said.

The action was successful in keeping toxins out of the basin, although a small amount of diesel fuel entered the storm water system.

The road was closed for most of the day.

The crane portion of the truck operated with hydraulic fluid and as a result, several gallons of hydraulic fluid spilled as well, he said.

Baywest, a specialty cleanup company from the Twin Cities that responds to toxic spills, responded to the scene as well.

Burlington Northern also responded to the scene, since the accident damaged the bridge as well.

The I-beams on the bridge were dented, and it sustained structural damage, according to the accident report.

Although trucks seem to hit the bridge every year, this is the first one in recent memory to involve spilled toxins, Drusch said.

City Council Member Shelly Reddemann publicly commended the fire department for its quick thinking and hard work.

"They did one heck of a job cleaning up, and protecting our lake,' Reddemann said.

The fire department used between 40 to 50 man hours in the accident.

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