VIDEO: Quick response to oil spill averted potential disaster

Judd Road likely to remain closed until middle of next week

The contractor hired to clean up a 1,700-gallon oil spill on Judd Road that happened Jan. 31 when an oil delivery truck flipped over expects to wrap up next week.

The accident happened on the northern end of Judd Road in Monroe, just off Hattertown Road, near the Easton border.

Judd Road has been closed to through traffic all week, and is expected to remain closed until the middle of next week. Weather will be a factor; snow or sleet would slow things down.

The oil truck was teetering on the edge of wetlands off Judd Road.

The oil truck was teetering on the edge of wetlands off Judd Road.

The truck driver swerved off the road and overturned while trying to avoid hitting a deer, police said. Complicating matters was the fact that the accident happened near a wetlands area.

But none of the oil entered the wetlands, according to Joseph Palmieri, president of Connecticut Tank Removal in Bridgeport, which is conducting the cleanup. Palmieri said the remediation is going very well. Palmieri is also a volunteer firefighter with the Easton Volunteer Fire Department.

He praised the quick response by the Stepney Volunteer Fire Department, who helped with the initial cleanup. The Monroe Police Department and Easton Police Department also responded and have helped with closing the road and the traffic detours.

“We’re still remediating the soil from the spill Monday,” Palmieri said at the site on Thursday.

He confirmed that approximately 1,700 gallons of oil was released from the fuel oil truck.

Oil and impacted water have been contained in a deep trench, dug out by Connecticut Tank Removal. — Nancy Doniger photo

Oil and impacted water have been contained in a deep trench, dug out by Connecticut Tank Removal. — Nancy Doniger photo

“We’re digging out the impacted soil and recovering ground water that has been impacted. We have it contained to the area.”

Pointing to a deep trench off the side of the road with oil and water in it, he said, “This down here shows the area that we excavated. As you pan over you can see the road, how we came in under the road and took out the soil.”

He said they set up a preventative barrier so if any oil goes beyond this area they’ll know right away.

“We have what we call an interceptor trench dug across the wetlands, and we’re cleaning up this area,” he said. “We know at this time nothing has gone beyond this point. The oil has not reached the wetlands. We got here right away.”

What prevented a potential disaster was the fact that the oil company was quick to respond, had a plan in place, had everything ready and immediately contacted Connecticut Tank Removal, Palmieri said. “We were able to respond in such a manner that we were able to cut it off before it did any serious damage,” he said.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection also responded to the spill and has been all week.

Monroe police have been stationed at the Hattertown end of Judd Road, and Easton police at North Street and Sport Hill Road. The detour directs drivers who are heading north on Sport Hill Road up to Stanley Road, where they can drive to Hattertown Road or cut over to Knapp Street.

Cleanup work continues on Judd Road where an oil delivery truck overturned on Jan. 30.

Cleanup work continues on Judd Road where an oil delivery truck overturned on Jan. 30.

Neighbors speak out

Although the accident occurred in Monroe, most of Judd Road is in Easton. The road is closed to through traffic, but local residents can get to their homes.

Heidi Armster, who lives on Judd Road in Easton, said the police officers stationed at the various intersections have been very polite and cordial. She said she wasn’t too worried about her well because it is some distance away, although she knows that oil can spread quickly and pollute a large area if it does.

Arlene Steinfeld, who lives on Judd Road north of North Street, was concerned about what was going on and called the Easton police who referred her to the Monroe police, who referred her to the DEEP.

Steinfeld spoke with Ken LeClerc in the DEEP oil spill department, who told her they found no contamination within 1,000 feet of the spill and that the hole in the the road would have to be repaired and would take time.

The Courier is waiting for a return call from LeClerc.

Palmieri said his company would repair the road and leave the site in the condition it was in before the accident.

Louise Treese said she and another Judd Road neighbor have to drive their kids to school because the bus can’t get down the road.

Treese and David Antonez, who both live in Easton just over the Monroe border, said that last month a car crashed into the woods up the road from this accident.

“I’ll leave it to the police to determine if speed was a factor here, but if so, I will not be surprised as it is a very narrow road and far too often the speed limit is exceeded,” Antonez said.

He said he hasn’t been down that way because he and his wife have been going out the other end to stay out of the way.  He said he saw boom lights up late Wednesday night while walking the dog.  

“As to the well, thankfully we are upstream from the accident site,” Antonez said. He is “hopeful that there will be no impact on the water quality but would expect someone from the state to confirm if and how this spill impacted the wetlands and any nearby wells.”

The spilled oil has been contained and will be removed from the site.

The spilled oil has been contained and will be removed from the site.

Connecticut Tank Removal of Bridgeport is conducting the cleanup of the Jan. 30 oil spill on Judd Road. — Photo by Nancy Doniger

Connecticut Tank Removal of Bridgeport is conducting the cleanup of the Jan. 30 oil spill on Judd Road in Monroe. — Photo by Nancy Doniger

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