A collision involving two semi-trucks and tankers resulted in more than 10,000 litres of diesel fuel spilling onto the ground near a creek in Brandon Monday afternoon.
Shortly after 2 p.m., police received a 911 call after a semi-truck hauling two tankers southbound on Highway 110 smashed into another semi-truck hauling one tanker travelling eastbound on Richmond Avenue East.
The collision left the eastbound semi’s cab in ruins as pieces of the vehicle were strewn across the highway.
It also caused the southbound semi’s back tanker to sever from the truck, flipping on its side about 100 metres from the intersection, while the cab and other tanker came to a stop another 100 metres away.
After focusing on the well-being of the two drivers, fire and emergency crews turned their attention to the overturned tanker, which was gushing fuel from a rear puncture.
"The driver estimated there was about 10,000 litres of diesel that leaked onto the ground and ran into the water in the ditches," Brandon Fire and Emergency Services Lt. Kevin Holder said. "We contained the leak and diked up the water to prevent it from getting into the river."
Holder said firefighters picked up absorbent booms, which were being stored at Fire Hall No. 1, in order to neutralize the fuel in one area.
He also credited the quick work of a local trucking company that helped create a makeshift berm in order to prevent further spreading.
Hauling sand from a nearby pit, employees from Ballingall Bros. Trucking sprung into action following the crash.
Sand from a truck just metres away from the accident and a loader from the company’s yard were used to clean up and contain the spill.
"We weren’t very far away, so it worked out that we were in the right spot at the right time," Todd Ballingall said. "We did our best to contain it so that it doesn’t get into the water."
Environmental officers from Manitoba Conservation were on the scene within minutes of the spill.
"It appears that approximately 10,500 litres of diesel was spilled; however, the fire department was able to keep the bulk of the spill in an isolated area," a Manitoba Conservation spokesperson said. "Some product did enter the ditch and it has been contained with floating booms and will be monitored until cleanup equipment is on scene."
While diesel is far less combustible than regular fuel, it does pose a significant risk to the environment as a petroleum hydrocarbon.
"Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship will ensure the area gets remediated to its original state, and has the co-operation of the necessary parties to ensure this happens ASAP," he said.
Sgt. Dallas Lockhart of the Brandon Police Service said the driver of the eastbound semi was taken to hospital in stable condition.
"We continue to investigate the cause of the collision and it’s too early to speculate if any charges will be laid," he said.
» Twitter: @CharlesTweed