News and Tribune

December 5, 2012

Chicken oil lubricates Jeffersonville roads

Fat spill causes slippery conditions for drivers

By BRADEN LAMMERS
braden.lammers@newsandtribune.com

CLARK COUNTY — Drivers coming off of Interstate 65 at exit 0 in Jeffersonville Wednesday morning were met with a slippery surprise.

According to Jeffersonville’s street department, a truck hauling poultry fat spilled about 300 gallons worth of the liquid on the exit ramp and down Court Avenue all the way to Spring Street.

“It’s been a pretty major deal,” said Street Commissioner David Hosea. “Cars were sliding all over the place.”

No accidents were reported as a result of the spill around 10:30 a.m.

The truck was coming off of the highway and headed to Pfau Industrial Animal Oils along Wall Street in Jeffersonville when the spill occurred.

“Somehow he lost his load, we don’t know what happened,” Hosea said.

John Johnston, technical and research director with Pfau Oils, said that according to the truck driver, a valve on the trailer containing the poultry fat jarred open.

He added that he had not had a chance to investigate what had caused the spill or what may have jarred open the valve.

Johnston said the only concern related to the spill was that it caused the roadways to get slick.

“Its not a hazardous chemical,” he said. “It’s completely biodegradable.”

He explained what was spilled is rendered chicken fat. During the processing of chickens for human consumption the parts that are uneaten are cooked. Then fat is separated from the protein meal in the resulting liquid and used in a variety of products ranging from animal feed, to pharmaceuticals to metal manufacturing.

While there is no health threat associated with the spill, in large amounts there could be environmental concerns if the fat were to run into area waterways.

Hosea said the street department was able to block the storm sewers to keep the fat from running into the storm water system, they have put down sand and street sweepers will be used to finish the cleanup.

“We’ll charge that company for the cleanup,” he said.

The trucking company that was hauling the fat was LNL Trucking Inc. out of Bedford.

When contacted by a News and Tribune reporter officials with LNL had “no comment.”

Johnston said Pfau Oils was working to help determine amount of poultry fat that was spilled, but he did not believe it was a large amount.

However he added, “this is the largest [spill] I’ve ever seen.”