A mechanical failure on a Waste Pro truck spilled more than 70 gallons of hydraulic fuel Monday, causing cars to fish-tail until public safety workers shut down parts of Atkinson and Popp’s Ferry roads, officials said.
“The spill was not quite to the Popp’s Ferry Bridge,” said Nick Hatten, state on-scene coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
“The primary danger was definitely to public safety,” Hatten said. “A number of drivers reported fish-tailing.”
Atkinson was closed from Rosalie Maria Drive to Popp’s Ferry Road and for a short distance northward.
Popp’s Ferry Road is a heavily traveled corridor and the west side of Atkinson Road is heavily populated with homes and several apartment complexes.
Biloxi police and firefighters closed the roads and manned access roads to keep drivers away.
Hatten said the Harrison County Utility Authority, which uses Waste Pro for garbage pickup, called the DEQ about 12:30 p.m. The roads were closed when he arrived about 1 p.m.
“The state hired a private contractor to put sorbent material down, brush it, containerize it and haul it off,” Hatten said.
City spokesman Vincent Creel said a Public Works crew also was on hand, and Waste-Pro was bringing material to soak up the fluid. The clean-up was more extensive than was first believed.
Creel said the spill was “rather troublesome because a number of people in that neighborhood are trying to get home.”
“It’s the second time in less than a week that a Waste Pro truck has suffered a hydraulic leak,” he said.
The last one was on Travia Street off U.S. 90 on Friday, when a Waste Pro dumpster truck had a hydraulic leak.
MDEQ gave the okay to re-open Popp’s Ferry Road about 3:30 p.m. and was working on re-opening Atkinson.
Waste Pro’s contract with the city ends Sept. 30.The HCUA has hired Team Waste for trash pickup in Harrison County and four of its cities, including Biloxi, starting Oct. 1. Gulfport has opted to stay with Waste Pro.