AUGUSTA – Utility crews and state engineers began monitoring city water supplies and Bond Brook after a tanker spilled hundreds of gallons of a paper-making chemical Friday morning in a crash on Interstate 95 that snarled traffic all day.

The truck was hauling 3,800 gallons of Nopcote, said Samantha DePoy-Warren, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The chemical, which contains calcium stearate, is a finishing agent for paper making.

Crews from the DEP and the hazardous waste disposal company Clean Harbors offloaded about 3,400 gallons of the chemical from the tanker in an operation that kept one lane of the interstate closed virtually all day.

They were unable to keep about 400 gallons from spilling into a nearby ditch that feeds Bond Brook.

“Dams were set up by DEP responders to prevent the product from reaching Bond Brook, but apparently an unknown portion of product went from the ditch into the stream and created a skim milk white plume,” DePoy-Warren said.

The chemical threatens three wells that supply water to the Greater Augusta Utility District, said the district’s general manager, Brian Tarbuck.


The three wells were shut down immediately, Tarbuck said. Two wells farthest from the crash were turned back on Friday afternoon, once officials determined they were not threatened. The third well, under the Bond Brook Bridge, will remain off until Tuesday, when the utility district is fully staffed.

“Everything I’ve seen so far, there’s no reason to believe there’s anything in that spill that would cause short- or long-term health effects,” Tarbuck said. “We just turned the wells off out of an abundance of caution.”

The public will be alerted should health or safety concerns arise, DePoy-Warren said.

The crash occurred shortly before 2 a.m. Friday, just north of an overpass above Bond Brook, when the truck left the right side of the road and tipped over.

The truck driver, Rudy Baldeo, 39, of New Jersey, was treated at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta and released, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

“State police say he likely fell asleep,” McCausland said.


Traffic was reduced to one lane for much of the day as crews continued the cleanup.

Northbound traffic crawled — with backups stretching about 8 miles south to the Interstate 295 interchange in Gardiner — more than 13 hours after the crash.

The truck, owned by Jersey City-based Langer Transport Corp., was headed to the Verso paper mill in Jay, McCausland said.

“Troopers continue to investigate the crash and no final decision on charges has been made,” he said.

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Craig Crosby can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:


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