A tanker truck loaded with 10,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel turned over in near-whiteout conditions in Gorham on Thursday, spilling an undetermined amount of the fuel, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection said.

The tanker, owned by J and D Transport of Vermont, was headed out of state after filling up at a South Portland petroleum terminal. It was on the Route 112 bypass just before noon when it left the roadway, said Stephen Flannery, one of the DEP personnel at the site.

The truck came to rest in a drainage ditch and was lying on its side with its front end pointed downward at about a 30-degree angle, Flannery said. The driver was shaken up during the crash and transported to an area hospital for evaluation, Flannery said.

The roadway remained closed well into Thursday evening.

The aluminum tanker was carrying 6,500 gallons of gasoline and a combined 3,600 gallons of off-road and on-road diesel when the driver lost control. Some of the petroleum products spilled but it was unclear late Thursday how much escaped the tanker. The amount that spilled won’t be known until the truck’s contents can be pumped out and measured.

The tank itself is divided into five compartments, and each has a round hatch on top that is used for filling compartments. The hatch is secured to the tanks with large screw-down bolts, but they were apparently not totally effective at stopping the fuel from leaking out.


“You try to close them a little tighter,” Flannery said. “We’re collecting it with sorbents.”

There was running water in the drainage ditch where the truck came to rest, and as of late Thursday, there had been no detected fuel spills into the water.

Before a wrecker could pull the truck from the ditch, a company specializing in cleaning up hazardous materials sent three large vacuum trucks. The first truck, with a capacity of 2,500 gallons, was on the scene by 6 p.m., but the two remaining trucks required to start pumping were not expected to arrive until 7:30 or 8 p.m.

To get the fuel out, workers drill a 4-inch hole at the highest point of the tank to access the fluids inside. The work has to be completed with non-sparking equipment, and monitors on scene were watching for the build up of fuel vapor, which can lead to an explosion.

It’s unclear how long it would take for the pumping to be completed, and whether the Gorham bypass will be open Friday morning.

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