Archbold, OH
Partly sunny
Partly sunny
75°F
 

Crash Spills Transformer Oil




Three electrical transformers lay on the ground, and at least one is leaking a mineral-oil based substance, following an accident, Sunday, Aug. 13. The pickup in the photo struck the utility pole, which brought down the transformers and damaged a second pole.– photo by Mary Huber

Three electrical transformers lay on the ground, and at least one is leaking a mineral-oil based substance, following an accident, Sunday, Aug. 13. The pickup in the photo struck the utility pole, which brought down the transformers and damaged a second pole.– photo by Mary Huber

A pickup knocked down a utility pole, Sunday, Aug. 13, causing a spill of oil from at least one of three transformers.

An environmental cleanup contractor was in the village to clean up the mess that evening, which included placing absorbent booms in the village storm sewer system.

Archbold police had not completed their report on the crash by press time yesterday, Tuesday, but did say the crash occurred about 5:40 pm on East Mechanic Street, near Middle Street.

Chris Eck, spokesman for Toledo Edison, said the transformers contain mineral oil, which is used as an insulator.

“It keeps the transformers from overheating,” Eck said.

“It’s about the consistency of baby oil. It’s relatively harmless, but when there’s a spill we require that it be cleaned up.”

In the past, transformers used an oil that contained PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls. Eck said PCBs are known cancer-causing agents.

Eck said most of the transformers that used oils with PCBs have been taken out of service and replaced with transformers that use mineral oil.

Dave Davis, Archbold fire chief, said rescue crews responded to the accident scene.

They placed absorbent booms to prevent further oil from reaching the storm sewers, and used an “oil dry” material to contain the spill until the Toledo Edison contractor arrived.

The contractor crews worked late into Sunday night, Davis said.

Eck said the spill has been cleaned up. All of the oil has been cleaned up, but when the oil spills on asphalt, it leaves a stain.

The only way to remove the stain is to remove the asphalt, “and there’s no sense in doing that,” he said.

Davis said he contacted the Fulton County Emergency Management Agency, and the cleanup contractor notified the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The driver of the pickup refused treatment by Archbold EMS crews.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *