Trash truck causes oil leak on campus

A trash truck caused an oil spill, which spread around campus on March 5. - Managing Editor / Abigail Twiford

A trash truck that drove around campus on March 5 left a trail of hydraulic fluid in its wake, which caused an oil spill on campus.

Hydraulic fluid is used in garbage trucks to aid in the operation of the vehicle’s doors, as well as in the process of compacting and crushing the trash held within the back. The truck in question had a break in one of the lines of fluid, which led to its leak as the truck moved. 

The issue was made more obvious and more concerning by the rainy weather that day, as the fluid was more easily visible and spread faster due to the slick terrain, making the ground appear as though it had been coated in a sheen of oil.  

Isaac Linsk is a senior at Rowan University who saw the fluid leak while giving a friend a tour of campus. 

“I looked down at the ground and had a bit of a sheen to it. Before I noticed I slipped and almost completely fell and almost ate some gravel. It was a bit of a travesty,” said Linsk. 

When the university was made aware of the situation, they contacted a contractor they use for emergencies like spills. This led to road closures, announced by a Rowan Advisory notification, across the center of campus to allow the crew to deal with the cleanup process. 

Joe Cardona, Ed.D is the vice president for university relations and the university spokesperson.

“Cleanup went as planned, and everything was cleaned up. So that’s the key to it, whenever there’s a spill, there’s a firm that we would call that manages some spills,” said Cardona.

Cardona also said that this case was challenging due to the wide reach of the fluid across campus, as it was both spread by the truck’s continued movement and the weather.

The fluid used was biodegradable, so the substance is non-toxic to marine life and should be able to degrade into harmless environmental components, like water and carbon dioxide, in less than a month. 

The cleanup crew spread sand over the fluid, prioritizing areas that were farther from drains. They then went in with a street sweeper to clear the sand off of the roads. 

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