Accident Spills Biosolids

Published 4:17 pm Thursday, February 9, 2012

BUCKINGHAM – A one-vehicle accident at the intersection of Routes 600, Plank Road, and 633, School Road on Friday, February 3, resulted in the spill of biosolids.

Kevin Flippen, E-911 Coordinator for Buckingham County, said he received the call about the accident around 11:30 a.m.

According to Flippen, the tractor-trailer, owned by Harold W. Collins Clearing & Grading, of Farmville, was hauling the waste from a Nutri-Blend biosolids storage facility on Salem Church Road in Cumberland to Charlotte County.

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When Flippen arrived at the scene, the clean up was underway. He said the majority of the waste spilled onto a grassy area near the intersection where the tractor-trailer rolled over on its side.

Flippen explained that the clean up process not only involved cleaning up the waste but also scraping the top soil, re-seeding the area, and covering the seeded areas with straw.

“They actually went into the woods and cleaned up with rakes and shovels what went past the tree line,” he added.

Flippen said a moisture-absorption product was used on the spill area and when the waste was loaded onto the dump trucks. He added that those trucks took the waste back to the storage facility. Afterwards, the crew used a tractor with a large brush attachment to sweep the roadway.

“I was pleased with how well Collins did on the clean-up,” offered Flippen, noting that when he arrived at the scene, Collins had already called the agencies that needed to be contacted and DEQ was on the way.

However, Flippen said he did check with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to make sure that a specialty company was not required to perform the clean up. He shared, “VDEM said as long as he could get it cleaned-up and DEQ was satisfied they were satisfied.”

According to Flippen, others at the scene included the Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, personnel from Nutri-Blend, and Regional Biosolids Monitor Manuel Toombs.

Flippen said he and the DEQ representative stayed at the scene until the clean up was completed around 3 p.m.

In a phone conversation with Toombs, who monitors the biosolids program for Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunen-burg, and Prince Edward counties, he added that a representative from the Health Department was also at the scene.

However, as Flippen noted in an earlier conversation, there were no residential wells or drinking water sources in the imme-diate area of the accident.

Toombs explained that the clean up also addressed a small amount of diesel fuel that came from the vehicle when it turned on its side.

After offering an overview of all the agencies at the scene, Toombs stated, “It was well represented as far as making sure everything was done right.”

Toombs clarified that both Collins and Nutri-Blend were involved in the clean up. He said the tractor-trailer was carrying 24 tons of biosolids.

According to Toombs, the waste was hauled back to the storage facility, which was used as a staging area because of its ce-ment floor. Subsequently, the waste from the dump trucks was reloaded to a tractor-trailer for transport to a landfill.

Noting that during the clean-up process, litter, gravel, weeds, and other debris were collected along with the biosolids, Toombs explained the waste was no longer suitable for agricultural application.

Virginia State Trooper D. Edmondston, the investigating officer, told The Herald that the driver was charged with failing to maintain control of the vehicle and several equipment violations.

In a follow-up on Tuesday morning, Flippen provided an email he received from David Cheatham, Biosolids Specialist with DEQ.

In the email, Cheatham stated that Collins and Nutri-Blend were extremely prompt in their response to the incident.

“The incident was handled according to our regulations and no environmental impact was noted since the material did not reach state waters,” wrote Cheatham.