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Published: Thursday, 11/3/2005

Diesel fuel spilled into city sewer


Cleanup crews spent yesterday removing about 7,500 gallons of diesel fuel from a sanitary sewer in East Toledo after a tanker truck flipped, causing its load to spill into the sewer drains.

The fuel was mostly contained in the 72-inch line between the crash scene at Oak and First streets and the Millard Avenue overpass, said Tim Murphy, chief of water resources with the city s environmental services division.

He said it did not flow into the Maumee River or the city storm sewer.

A small amount of fuel traveled to the Bayview Wastewater Treatment Plant, where workers removed it with surface skimming equipment, said Robert Stevenson, the city s director of public utilities.

Mr. Stevenson said treatment of the wastewater was not affected, and the plant was running fine.

Mr. Murphy said about 10 residents reported a diesel fuel odor in their homes. City workers conducted air quality checks, but found no problems.

The truck driver, Theodore Bender, 24, was south on Oak, approaching First, when the accident occurred about 2:20 a.m. As the rig went around the curve, it hit the curb, causing it to flip, police said.

Dorian Carlisle, who was driving north on Oak to a friend s house, heard a loud noise, went around the corner, and saw the flipped truck and fuel spewing everywhere.

The East Toledoan said he saw Mr. Bender s arm hanging out the window of the crushed cab, heard him calling for help, and pulled him out.

Mr. Bender was in fair condition yesterday in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. Police cited him for failure to control.

He was driving to Seaway Fuels facility on Airport Highway when the accident occurred, a company spokesman said. She said Mr. Bender claimed to have been cut off by a car, braked hard, the rig froze up, and Mr. Bender jerked away to avoid an accident.

Mr. Murphy said hired crews with vacuum trucks were sucking the fuel and water from the sanitary sewer and hauling it to a facility where the diesel would be removed.

The fuel would be taken to Sunoco, and the water would be returned to the sewer system, Mr. Murphy said.

Crews will try to clean the fuel-stained road, which was closed in the area of the spill. If that doesn t work, it will have to be scraped and repaved, Mr. Murphy said.

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