Thetford Town Truck Accident Spills Hazardous Material

Thetford — Cleanup crews spent about 11 hours working to contain a hazardous material spill Thursday after a town dump truck rolled over into a ditch on Stevens Road and lost some of its hydraulic oil, officials said Friday.

The 10-wheeler truck, which was carrying a load of gravel, rolled over around 8:30 a.m. Thursday on Stevens Road and spilled roughly 20 gallons of hydraulic oil, according to Mariah Whitcomb, deputy fire chief of the Thetford Volunteer Fire Department.

“The fluid leaked into the ground ... and we needed to control the runoff,” she said.

“There’s a small wetland area there, and a small stream, and so, unfortunately, with any fluid, it (can get) into the water, and we have to control it.”

Thetford firefighters used booms and pads and notified state officials, a requirement with any such spill.

The Department of Environmental Conservation called in a Barre, Vt.-based cleanup contractor, Accuworx, which also helped remediate the site.

“They came down with a truck to kind of vacuum up the (fluid),” said Richard Spiese, a DEC spill responder.

Cleanup took about 11 hours, and there was some contaminated soil at the scene that the Thetford Department of Public Works excavated and stockpiled at the town garage, Spiese said.

Whitcomb said she was unclear what caused the accident, but said it was her understanding that the driver was “OK.”

Messages left for Thetford Selectboard Chairman Stuart Rogers and DPW Director Scott Knowlton were not returned Friday.

Knowlton posted a message on Thetford’s listserve thanking members of the fire department for their “timely presence, professionalism, knowledge and willingness to help at every turn.”

Spiese said the state has received 395 calls thus far this year on hazardous material incidents, and said the Thetford case appeared “pretty routine.”

“I have every indication the town was responding to this responsibly ... and felt even more confident when the contractor arrived,” he said.

Spiese said the town of Thetford would be responsible for the cleanup costs from the contractor.

John Gregg can be reached at or 603-727-3217.