Thousands of gallons of a tar-like substance have spilled into the Mohawk River after an accident in Upstate New York.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Spill Response Team was called in after a tanker rolled over on Route 26, near the intersection of Osceola Road in the Town of West Leyden earlier this week. It was carrying a substance called asphalt emulsion, that is used for paving.

Clean Up Continues

The road was closed as crews spent several hours cleaning up the spill that DEC officials say is not anticipated to impact the public drinking water supply. It is affecting the aquatic life though.

“A fish kill was reported downstream following the incident. Cleanup is underway and DEC's investigation is ongoing, including a full evaluation of potential environmental impacts.”

The driver of the tanker was taken to the hospital but there is no word on his condition or how the accident occurred in the first place.

Spills in New York

16,000 reports come into the New York State Spill Hotline every year. Most are for small amounts which are often cleaned up quickly.

There are many laws and regulations in New York State that require releases of petroleum, chemicals and materials which may cause environmental damage to be reported. In all cases, the responsible party or the property owner is required to report the discovery of a release.

All spills that occur within New York State must be reported within 2 hours of discovery, except spills that meet all of the following criteria:

  • The quantity is known to be less than 5 gallons; and
  • The spill is contained and under the control of the spiller; and
  • The spill has not and will not reach the State's water or any land; and
  • The spill is cleaned up within 2 hours of discovery.

The Department of Environmental Conversation (DEC) recommends that anyone with knowledge, report the discovery of any contamination or a release to the NYS Spill Hotline (1-800-457-7362) as soon as possible.

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