Part of State Highway 13 remained closed Monday while the crews cleaned the area where thousands of gallons of gasoline spilled from a tanker Sunday morning. Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality said several thousand gallons of gasoline were removed from the scene Sunday, but another 2,500 gallons was still in the ground Sunday night. A private company, U.S. Environmental Services, removed the contaminated soil along the road.
According to Public Information Officer for Emergency Management Don Chennault, the accident occurred about 8 a.m. Sunday, when the tanker, carrying 9,000 gallons of fuel, overturned on Highway 13 between Puckett and Polkville in Smith County. A ruptured valve on the tanker is thought to be the cause of the gasoline spill.
The gasoline spread across a 300-foot area along a ditch and likely seeped into the ground to a depth of 4-8 feet. Homes within one mile of the area were evacuated until the area was determined to be safe.
Emergency crews immediately secured a one mile area and blocked roads near the scene. A staging area-command post was established at the intersection of Hwy. 541 and Hwy. 13 in the Daniels Community where only necessary emergency personnel were allowed into the dangerous scene. Crews worked throughout the day to empty the tanker and begin the clean up process that was expected to take approximately 24-36 hours.
Crews from Polkville Volunteer Fire Department, Smith County Emergency Management and Civil Defense, Smith County Sheriff’s Department, AMR, Smith County Supervisors, MS Dept. of Transportation, MS Highway Patrol, MS Department of Environmental Quality, United States Environmental Services, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Homewood Volunteer Fire Department, Raleigh Volunteer Fire Department, Rankin County Sheriff’s Dept., Puckett Volunteer Fire Dept. and local utility crews were included in those responding to the area.