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Oil spill cleanup continues near river

October 27, 2008
By KERRY McAVOY /The Leader-Herald

AMSTERDAM - Crews continued a cleanup operation today near Thruway Exit 27, where a tractor-trailer accident Sunday caused several thousand gallons of home heating oil to spill.

State police based at the Thruway barracks said at about 9 a.m. Sunday, Gabor Koppany, 38, of Frankfort was driving a tractor-trailer containing 10,500 gallons of home heating fuel in the east bound lane of the Thruway when the accident occurred.

The driver failed to reduce his speed while going around a curve at the Amsterdam exit ramp and slid into the guard rail on the right shoulder. The truck went over onto its roof and slid into the trees along the shoulder.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

Trucks line the exit ramp just before the toll booth at Thruway Exit 27 in Amsterdam this morning. Cleanup efforts continue today at the site of an oil spill.

The trailer was damaged, and about 10,000 gallons of fuel spilled into the wooded area. A small amount of oil flowed into a creek that runs into the Mohawk River about a half-mile away.

Floating dikes were placed in the creek to contain the fuel. The Amsterdam Fire Department used its boat to place more collection devices to limit runoff into the river.

The Amsterdam Fire Department, Montgomery County HazMat Response Team and Schenectady Air Guard Fire Department responded to the accident.

The New York State Encon Police and Spill Response Team were on the scene to coordinate the cleanup. Op-Tech, a private Rotterdam-area contractor, has been hired to clean up the scene with the fire departments.

State police said the Thruway Authority was able to keep Exit 27 open by diverting traffic around the accident on the shoulder.

Amsterdam Fire Chief Richard Liberti said only a couple hundred gallons of oil were able to be salvaged from the scene.

He said as of Sunday he heard Op-Tech would be bringing heavy equipment to clean up the site.

Troopers said Koppany was not injured in the accident. He was ticketed for speeding. The driver was making a local delivery for ARG Trucking of Phelps, in the Utica area, troopers said.

This was the second time in less than a month that a truck accident caused an environmental hazard in the Amsterdam area.

On Sept. 30, a truck loaded with contaminated soil overturned on Truax Road and struck a guard rail and a power pole.

The soil scattered on the road and over an embankment was tainted with polycholorinated biphenyls - dangerous chemicals commonly called PCBs.

That spill took personnel from the Department of Environmental Conservation and contractor DA Collins two days to clean up.

Kerry McAvoy covers Montgomery County news. She can be reached at



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