The north side of Indianapolis probably smelled pretty awful one day last June. A report from the Indy Star says that about 2,000 gallons of human waste spilled out during a truck accident. The sewage tanker fell into a hole in a bridge it was crossing, and the valve holding the excrement in broke off. The waste ended up pouring down the road, headed for White River. First responders set up a makeshift dam to prevent the entire amount from getting to the river, while the sewage company sent another truck to vacuum up the mess. They were able to remove just about all of it, and what they weren’t able to remove they allowed to trickle into the river to dilute. The Marion County Public Health Department says that the amount of waste that went into the river would not pose any public health threat.
The truck was emptying the septic talk of a private residence that was participating in the Citizens Energy Group septic tank elimination project. Several of the homes in the area are only accessible by bridge, and it may be that the septic truck driver did not take into account how heavy the vehicle would be when full. The bridge failed under the weight, and the spill was the result. No charges or citations have been levied against the septic contractor or the vehicle driver.
While they initially said that there was no risk posed to the public, the health department is monitoring the area and the creek to make sure it remains safe. Temporary signs were erected to inform the public as well. Along with the Marion county department, the Department of Environmental Management and the Department of Natural Resources were all on the scene. All of these organizations consulted on the decision to remove the dam and let the rest flow into the river.
According to officials, there was less waste in this incident than there would after flooding during a large rain storm, and the river handles those amounts with problems. According to a citizen spokesperson said that after examining the scene, he noticed no bad smell and no dead fish. The water looked a little blacker than normal, however. Of course, if it were a chemical spill, then it would be considered much more serious. The regulatory organizations and the neighbors will continue to monitor their water for signs of contamination as time goes on.
Large trucks continue to pose a real danger, despite being a necessary part of our economy. For one, their size makes them difficult to maneuver quickly, and also their weight can cause problems, such as in the situation above. Plus, they are often carrying either heavy or toxic material that can cause damage or injury if they spill. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Indianapolis, or gotten ill because of something that has spilled from a truck, call a truck accident specialist attorney to help you file a claim and get any compensation you might be owed.