Cleanup of oil spill from old transformer under way; Marshall Road to remain closed Friday
Editor's note: This story has been updated with details of the cleanup and oil test results.
A section of Marshall Road, just west of Zeeb Road, in Scio Township will remain closed through Friday morning as an environmental cleanup company proceeds with the cleanup of an oil spill from an old transformer.
Firefighters and the county HAZMAT director were awaiting test results on the spilled oil Thursday evening before they could proceed with the cleanup. The fire department received the call around 4:20 p.m., and by 8 p.m. it was determined that the oil did not contain polychlorinated biphenyls, a highly toxic chemical compound.
Marshall between Zeeb and Merlin Way is expected to remain blocked off Friday morning, so motorists should look for alternative routes.
Scio Township Fire Chief Carl Ferch said the about 6-foot tall, 4-foot wide and 3-foot deep old transformer was being transported on its side by a towing company. It had been picked up from a business near Huron River Drive and Zeeb Road.
“The driver thought the oil in it was frozen,” Ferch said, and when he discovered it was leaking, he stopped and stood up the structure, thinking that might help the situation.
Oil leaked onto the truck and the ground, and there is an about 50-yard by 1-foot wide trail of oil on the south side of Marshall Road, Ferch said.
“We’re taking all possible precautions to protect the environment,” Ferch said. The firefighters have set up booms to block the oil from reaching a small creek nearby.
“Where the puddle stops, there’s a small creek,” he said.
Tests were conducted to determine what type of oil had leaked from the structure, Ferch said, adding that these old transformers sometimes contain PCBs.
PCBs are defined as "a family of highly toxic chemical compounds consisting of two benzene rings in which chlorine takes the place of two or more hydrogen atoms (that are) known to cause skin diseases and suspected of causing birth defects and cancer."
No cost estimates were available for the cleanup operation, and Ferch expects the job to be completed sometime Friday.
Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.