Saturday, November 8, 2008

my hometown makes the national news...and why???

Big stink in St. Marys

November 08, 2008
Melinda Dalton


A quiet main drag oozed like something out of a horror flick yesterday after a tanker truck spilled chicken blood from one end of town to the other.

"When I got up, the street was completely red," said Murray Anthony, who awoke to cleaning crews mopping up the mess in front of his Queen Street home. "The dog went kind of nuts because he sensed food."

"I've definitely lost my appetite," said downtown salon owner Wendy Czajkoski.

The truck loaded with 4.5 tonnes of chicken blood was headed from the Schneider poultry plant in St. Marys to a rendering plant in Dundas. It was travelling west down Queen Street at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday when blood started leaking from a broken valve, Ontario Provincial Police said.

"We got the call first from a citizen, who said there was a liquid on the road," said Const. Glen Childerly of the Perth County OPP. "When we went there, we discovered it was blood. There was blood everywhere and in spots it was three inches thick."

The truck driver didn't notice the leak until he reached Highway 7-- more than six kilometres from where the horrifying trail started near St. Mary's Hospital.

The Environment Ministry's spills action centre was called, but no immediate threats were identified, spokesperson Kate Jordan said.

"We confirmed there wasn't any impact to the natural environment, so the blood wasn't getting into the sewers or the water courses in the area."

Police charged the truck driver with having an insecure load.

The truck is owned by Rothsay, an independent rendering company owned by Maple Leaf Foods. It was last inspected in August and no problems were identified, said Jeanette Jones, a spokesperson for Maple Leaf.

She said the driver followed all the protocols once he realized what happened. These included calling in a hazardous response team, which arrived within an hour to clean up.

"I was advised that by 9 a.m., it was about 95 per cent complete, so they had made fairly quick work of it," she said.

Crews used sand to absorb the blood, concentrating first on the hilly downtown, where some of the liquid was pooling. The mixture was then swept up and hauled to a ministry-approved landfill site, Jordan said.

Berms were placed around catch basins on the road.

Municipal crews with the Town of St. Marys were called in to sand and sweep the road. At the request of police, they blocked off Queen Street from Highway 7 to downtown.

"It was slippery," said Dave Sharp, the supervisor of public works. "It seemed to get worse as it was on there longer, because it started to dry and was getting a little tacky."

One minor crash yesterday morning could be attributed to the slick road, the OPP said.

Crews opened the downtown to traffic in the morning, but areas east of the core remained blocked off while sweepers removed blood-soaked sand.

By mid-morning, word of the spill and the putrid smell had reached most residents. Much of the blood had already been trucked away, but the odd pool of red liquid remained stuck.

"This is disgusting," Maggie Dotzenroth said, shaking her head as children crossed the road through pink-tinged sand. "And the stench -- what if this was next week with our Christmas parade? It's unbelievable."

The town contacted the Perth District Health Unit, but the incident was determined not to be a significant health threat.

"It's similar to how you would treat dog feces -- try to avoid it as much as possible," said unit spokesperson Rebecca Hill. "But if you have come in contact, practise thorough handwashing."

The cleanup was expected to continue today, with crews power-washing the street to remove the lingering red stain, Sharp said.

The rendering company will be investigating the incident, Maple Leaf said.

While few people in town could recall anything like this, Sharp said there had been other local spills in recent years -- most involving small amounts of waste that were fairly easy to clean up.

"But, 4,000 kilograms of blood? No, that's a first."

(my comments here: yuck, yuck yuck!!! My mom had to walk to work through that mess....)


Earth Muffin said...


Camlin said...

Yeah, it's enough to turn me into a vegetarian...wait I'm already a vegetarian.

My mom's co-worker's husband was driving his brand new truck down the 401 (main corridor highway in Ontario) when he heard the news about the blood spill on the radio. He stopped to look at his truck - this was after driving for more than an hour. It was covered with blood and entrails. The paint was bubbling.

Yuck! Yuck!

Ms. Creek said...

ick. i had no idea they HAULED chicken blood...your poor mother!