Lately it seems there has been a rash of 20-foot containers overturning on the highways around the United States. These are often attributed to the difference in center of gravity and weight density in the shorter containers. Well this container had an assist in toppling due to several alcoholic beverages.
West Virginia Turnpike was closed 19 hours to clean up 3,300-gallon spill
On August 25, Dennis Eugene West, a truck driver for Gadsden Gaillard and West, LLC, was traveling along the West Virginia Turnpike when the tractor-trailer he was operating overturned at the 62.5 mile marker. The location is between Mahan and Mossy. The incident occurred near Paint Creek Falls, a tourist attraction that is part of Paint Creek.
Dennis West was operating the truck when the incident occurred. After rescue crews extracted West from the truck, they noticed a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.
West Virginia State Police officers conducted a field sobriety test and breathalyzer test to test for intoxication. After a second breathalyzer confirmed a breath alcohol level of .128, West was arrested and booked under charges of driving while intoxicated.
A massive clean-up effort to protect local wildlife and water supplies
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced the Turnpike was reopened 19 hours after the incident. But effects of this chemical spill are of concern to environmental advocates and homeowners alike.
The totes that ruptured contained alkyl dimethyl amine oxide, a cleaning agent used in shampoos and cleaners. It is used as a thickening agent and to break down dirt and grime.
The West Virginia state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) were notified. DHHR has alerted all drinking water intakes downstream of the spill and DNR will conduct a fish assessment once remediation is complete.
Residents are on a bottled water notice and are afraid water wells are contaminated. They are also worried about possible fish kills caused by the chemical release.
An environmental remediation contractor, Clean Harbors, has been brought in to clean up the area. State officials will work with local authorities to come up with a plan on how to test water sources.