On June 26, 2022, at 10:25 p.m., a truck was involved in an accident on U.S. Highway 41 in Indiana, spilling approximately 135 gallons of fuel.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (IDOT) responded immediately.
At 10:30 p.m., HazChem Environmental was called to handle the cleanup of this emergency.
The affected area of the highway was effectively and quickly blocked off by IDOT.
In the meantime, a crew of four Hazmat-trained technicians were assembling at HazChem’s home base of Addison, IL.
“On the one hand, I was happy that it was our company that was trusted to handle the cleanup of this spill,” said Alan Shapiro, co-owner of HazChem. “On the other hand, when such an esteemed entity as the Indiana Department of Transportation is banking on you at 10:30 p.m. to clean up a highway, we don’t spend any time patting ourselves on the back — we get busy mobilizing to the site and cleaning up the spill.”
In Addison, the crew hooked up a Bobcat and trailer to a HazChem Pick-Up Truck, loaded a HazChem ER Truck and drove to the spill site.
“Our crew manager for this particular cleanup is also our warehouse personnel manager and so we knew he would be effective at communicating with the IDOT workers, coming up with an effective game plan for cleaning the spill, and then directing our crew on doing an excellent job,” Shapiro said.
The spill was over 150 yards long. Upon arrival, the HazChem crew manager coordinated with the on-site IDOT workers and police officers a game plan for cleaning the spill.
“The quickest way, and most effective way, to begin cleaning this spill was to fill the bucket of the Bobcat with oil dry,” Shapiro explained. “Sometimes we use power brooms to work in the oil dry but the area affected was far too long to bank on that type of equipment — the cleanup would have gone on much longer than necessary.”
The crew manager worked the Bobcat, spreading the oil dry around. The bucket was refilled several times, each refill consisting of 500 pounds of oil dry.
Later, the skid-steer sweeper was especially effective in working in the oil dry.
“There was a few small puddles near the side of the highway, and the rest of our crew was able to use brooms and shovels to work oil dry into those puddles,” Shapiro said. “I was very pleased with the way this crew worked together.”
The crew put all worked-in oil dry into 55-gallon open-top-steel drums.
“The IDOT officials expressed their gratitude to us and we were very pleased that they were happy,” Shapiro said. “We understand that there is always a choice of companies to call when cleanups of spills happen. We were grateful that it was our company that was trusted to handle this particular job.”
From the time of its arrival to the time the crew left, less than three hours had elapsed.
“So the highway was now safe to drive on, this area was reopened to all motorists and this cleanup was done safely,” Shapiro said. “For a spill this large, that was exceptional work by our crew manager and his crew.”