UPDATE: Authorities allowing ethanol tank truck spill to continue
MILTON–Authorities are allowing an overturned tank truck at the Highway 59 roundabouts to fully spill out its 8,000 gallon load of ethanol into a nearby retention pond.
According to a news release from the Milton Police Department, state and local emergency crews determined it would be safer to let the ethanol continue to spill from the truck than to bring in equipment to stem the spill.
"Officials on scene have determined the safest course of action is to allow the ethanol to leak out naturally, rather than introducing any apparatus that could potentially cause a fire hazard. The ethanol is draining into a retention pond which is adjacent to where the incident took place," Milton Police Lt. John Conger wrote in the release.
Traffic will be shut down along Highway 59 from Highway 26 to Vickerman Road for several hours while state and local emergency and environmental crews deal with the accident, according to officials.
Milton Police Chief Dan Layber Layber said the tank truck was leaving the United Ethanol plant at 1050 Chicago St., Milton, and was making a turn around the furthest west of three roundabouts on Highway 59 at 9:45 a.m. today when it tipped over.
Layber said there was an immediate explosion hazard with the truck flipped over on its side and fuel leaking out of it.
A Milton firefighter and a Milton Department of Public Works told a Gazette reporter this morning that the accident area was dangerous, and authorities were considering a 500-foot area around the accident to to be a "hot zone.”
Authorities had evacuated nearby businesses and homes, but people are now being allowed to return to those locations. Authorities are cautioning those people to keep sheltered, authorities said.
There is now no danger to anybody outside a 500-foot area around the accident, according to the news release. Train traffic has resumed along the Highway 59 corridor, officials said.
Layber said authorities believe the bulk of the the spilled ethanol is being contained to the retention pond, which it is reaching through a storm sewer.
“I think it's just getting captured into that retention pond, so we should be OK as far as that's concerned," Layber said.
Layber said that police don't believe the driver of the tank truck was speeding or driving recklessly at the roundabouts, but he said the accident was still being investigated.
It's not clear if the driver of the truck had trouble negotiating the roundabout, although authorities indicated the driver had gone through the two other roundabouts on the same stretch of Highway 59 before the truck flipped over.
Layber said he was told the driver was uninjured.
Milton fire, police, Rock County sheriff’s deputies, Wisconsin State Patrol Rock County Emergency Management and Department of Natural Resources crews are at the scene.
The Wisconsin State Patrol is assisting in the investigation, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is assisting with the environmental impact assessment.