Ethanol truck in Milton rolls over, spills cargo on Hwy. 59

Officials allowing ethanol to leak out of tanker

Published On: Nov 27 2012 11:33:16 AM CST   Updated On: Nov 27 2012 10:38:01 PM CST
Milton ethanol truck rollover
MILTON, Wis. -

Authorities have closed State Highway 59 east on Milton after a tanker truck filled with ethanol overturned Tuesday morning, spilling ethanol on the highway.

The roadway is expected to remain closed until at least Wednesday morning, according to the Milton Police Department.

The Milton Police Department said the truck and trailer overturned at about 9:45 a.m. on Highway 59, approximately one mile east of Highway 26. The semitruck was eastbound on Highway 59 and overturned while driving through a roundabout.

Jim Blumer, an employee of Hammil Farm Center in Milton, said the nearby store wasn't evacuated but police stopped by to let him know about the spill.

"I heard some sirens this morning and a customer said, 'You've got to come and look at this.' So we went out the back and saw the truck on its side," Blumer said.

Milton police said officials at the scene determined the safest course of action is to allow the ethanol to leak out naturally rather than trying to offload it onto another tanker, which could create a fire hazard.

Police said the ethanol is draining into a retention pond adjacent to the crash site.

It is estimated there were approximately 8,000 gallons of ethanol on board, and it is draining in excess of 10 gallons per minute, Milton police said.

"We're estimating a minimum of 12 hours (of the highway being closed). We're thinking at least midnight before we open the roadway," said Lt. John Conger, of the Milton Police Department.

Conger said the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is at the scene to assist with the environmental impact assessment. He said that at this point, it doesn't appear the spill will affect water in the area.

Police said the driver wasn't injured in the crash.

"We don't have any indication it was reckless driving or it was speed or anything like that. Witnesses said he was traveling at a normal rate of speed, something just happened that it overturned," Conger said.

Several nearby residents who were evacuated have since been let back into their homes.

The Wisconsin State Patrol is investigating the incident. For now, drivers are asked to detour on Highway N.