Fifty gallons of oil had leaked out of a freight-shipping company truck and onto a parking lot at an apartment complex in St. Charles, Illinois.
The date was October 15, 2020, and the time was 4:03 p.m.
“The St. Charles Fire Department was exceptional,” said Chris Johnson, Co-Owner of HazChem Environmental Corporation (hazchem.com). “The St. Charles Fire Department was at the spill site immediately. A lot of the residents of this apartment complex had been scared and concerned, and the personnel of the fire department made certain there was no chance of the fuel spreading and they made certain there would be no fire.
“All of those residents were immediately calmed by the presence of the St. Charles Fire Department. For all that they do, those firemen are true heroes. And the way they made sure this potential disaster did not turn into an actual disaster is further proof of just how heroic and fantastic they are. A thousand thanks are due to the St. Charles Fire Department.”
The shipping company, one of the largest freight-transport companies in the Midwest, is a client of HazChem Environmental (Addison, IL.)
Johnson served as HazChem’s Crew Manager for this spill.
“Including myself, we had a total of six men at the site very quickly,” Johnson said. “Our guys brought out an Emergency Response Truck and a Pick-Up Truck. We hooked up a trailer to the Pick-Up Truck to bring out a forklift because our client’s truck, that had suffered the oil leak, still had heavy freight on it which needed to be moved.”
Among the six-man crew was Johnson’s fellow Co-Owner, Alan Shapiro.
“The St. Charles Fire Department had done a tremendous job,” Shapiro said. “Once we got there, the Fire Department left and then it was up to us to clean up this spill which had covered around 100 yards in length.”
The HazChem crew laid down boom into the two sewers closest to the freight-transportation truck. Oil dry was laid down throughout the parking lot and, of course, directly under the truck and around the truck.
The spill had been caused by a punctured hole in a tote. After patching that hole, the HazChem crew conducted a tote transfer, moving the remaining oil from the damaged tote into a new 330-gallon tote brought to the site by HazChem.
Using the forklift, HazChem unloaded the remaining freight off the truck. Oil dry had been laid down inside the truck for absorption and to clean.
A Power-Sweeper was used to further work the oil dry into the parking lot.
“Everything was going very smoothly for us,” Johnson said. “Each member of this crew had a specific job to do and each person was doing their job well. It was interesting that some of the onlooking residents asked me if we’d be done cleaning this spill before the next morning. I told them our crew would be finished cleaning this spill in under two hours.”
Which turned out to be the case.
The crew used Oil-Only Pads to wipe down the outside of the truck, its tires and lift gate.
The driver of the truck was able to leave the site — with no danger of spreading the spill — less than 90 minutes after HazChem’s full crew had arrived.
Seven 55-gallon Open-Top-Steel drums were used to contain the waste from the cleanup. HazChem’s crew members took those drums and the damaged tote back to its shop.
Five days later, HazChem personnel removed the boom from the sewers.
“If there is such a thing as a perfect cleanup job,” said Shapiro, “then this was it. Because of the St. Charles Fire Department and their fast and exceptional work, there was no horrific disaster. And once the St. Charles Fire Department did their job, it was up to us to do ours — and we’re glad that we got this spill cleaned up quickly and safely.”