WEST UNION - A tanker truck hauling fluid for a well-drilling pad toppled into a Doddridge creek Sunday evening, closing the road for several hours for cleanup.
The truck tipped over into a creek along Meathouse Fork Road near New Milton, Tom Aluise, a spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, said. The truck owned by U.S. Wells Service was hauling friction reducer to a drilling pad on Brushy Fork Road for a well owned by Antero.
"He pulled off the side of the road to let a car by," Aluise said. "The berm was soft and it caved in and the truck rolled into the creek."
The accident happened around 6:30 p.m. Emergency officials closed the road for several hours as crews cleaned up the mess, including pulling the truck from the creek.
Aluise said the well service company brought in an environmental cleanup crew. Officials found no evidence any of the friction reducer was released into the creek, Aluise said.
"There was no indication that any of the chemicals the tanker truck was hauling escaped from the truck," he said.
Company officials removed the chemicals from the overturned truck into another truck and then extracted the tipped tanker from the creek, Aluise said.
Diane Pitcock with the West Virginia Host Farms project disputes some of the claims. Pitcock, who lives near the accident, is an activist concerned about the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling in the state.
She was at the scene Sunday night until early Monday morning.
"I feel - in my opinion - this incident is far more serious than they are playing it to be," she said.
Pitcock said she tried to ask several officials what was in the tanker.
"I was told it was 'proprietary,'" she said. "They would not tell us what was in the tanker."
At least one DEP official was on the scene after the accident occurred and returned to the site again Monday.
"We did have a presence there and planned to return (Monday)," Aluise said.
Aluise said some motor oil from the truck went into the creek. Cleanup booms were placed downstream to catch the oil and additional cleanup was performed.
"As a precaution the West Union water department turned off a water intake that was downstream from the where the truck went into the creek," Aluise said.
The intake was turned back on by Monday morning.
Aluise said as officials were pulling the truck from the creek, using several large tow trucks, bystanders were trying to get closer to the accident to get pictures.
"Emergency crews were concerned about their safety," he said. "It was a dangerous situation and they didn't want anyone to get hurt."