In this incident, Pro-Enviro was called in to help with an overturned tractor-trailer that had gone off the road at E. Valley Access Road in Auburn, WA. The trailer was loaded with quartz countertops and was severely damaged. It had also spilled a large amount of diesel fluid across all lanes, which was running into the drainage water. This required immediate fuel spill cleanup which we were quick to respond to.
We arrived on scene with the Valley Regional Fire Authority, Auburn Police Department, Department of Ecology and the City of Auburn. Pro-Tow also arrived with the appropriate equipment and team for both incident management and recovery. Pro-Enviro arrived with a fluid spill response vehicle. We assessed the situation and formed the necessary steps for a safe recovery plan. First thing first: we needed to quickly tackle the fuel spill cleanup.
Step One: Handling the Fuel Spill Cleanup
First, we applied absorbent pads, socks, pillows, and granules across the spill. We then installed berms and drain protection around multiple storm drains. Upon inspecting the drains, however, we found that contamination was beginning to appear downstream at the retention pond. The Pro-Enviro team needed to first stop the source of the fuel leak, which was coming from a ruptured saddle tank. Electrical smoke appearing from a damaged battery box lock had to be dealt with to prevent any risk of a fire, so using our emergency cut off saw, we removed the box. We pumped the tank and sealed it with rupture sealing supplies, which stopped the flow.
The damaged tank was then moved to a nearby safe location, and our team continued with the fuel spill cleanup. The drainage ditch had considerable fuel contamination, so it was evacuated and an evacuator truck set up to monitor and prevent any more fuel entering the storm system.
Step Two: Recovery of the Overturned Tractor Trailer
With the fuel spill cleanup successfully completed, Team Pro-Tow focused on the semi-truck accident recovery. Once again, we performed a scene assessment and formed the necessary safety steps needed to handle the recovery. Using both extreme caution and alternating recovery techniques, we were able to lift, straighten and unbind the tractor. We continued until the tractor was back on the roadway. Because the frame of the tractor was bent into a 90-degree angle, the recovery from here on had extremely non-routine challenges and required extraordinary safety measures for all recovery team personnel.
In the end, it was decided that the container would be set and transported on its side. We loaded the container onto our specialty trailer and then very carefully disconnected the trailer from the trailers chassis. Our recovery team was then able to secure the chassis and trailer separately for safe transport to the nearest yard for storage. With the semi-truck accident recovery safely completed, our team focus on the final cleanup.
Step 3: Street Cleanup
The street cleanup was an extensive process, with the cleanup spanning 4 lanes and 150 feet in length. Our teamwork quickly though, cleaning up all rocks, mud and accident debris to our special on scene dump trailer. We then cleaned up the fuel spill with granular absorbent materials, bio-enzymatic hydrocarbon treatment and a specialized broom attached to our compact track loader. During this time, access to E. Valley Access Road was closed, so our team worked quickly to clean the debris and reopen the roadways.
At the end of the day, all contamination and debris were safely cleaned up. Another semi-truck accident recovery and fuel spill recovery safely completed!