Mass cleanup in progress at Memphis, Indiana truck stop


MEMPHIS, Ind. (WAVE) – A massive cleanup effort has entered day 11 in Memphis, Indiana.

Workers use heavy equipment, shovels and forks to remove contaminated diesel and debris following a spill from the Loves Truck Stop.

The spill has been contained, but cleanup is still ongoing. Indiana has not yet determined how much diesel fuel leaked. A team of 70 contractors work throughout the Memphis area.

Recently filed documents show that seven inches of diesel was found in a viewing well on the property of the truck stop. Investigators also found a broken diesel line near the refueling islands.

“The Indiana Department of Environmental Management says there are no concerns for public health or impacts to wildlife and it has not seen any so far,” said Clark County Emergency Management Director Gavan Hebner.

Records show that IDEM sent Loves a Notice of Violation about a month before the spill was discovered. An inspector cited nine pages of violations, including a lack of corrosion protection for all diesel tank piping installed in 1988.

A department section chief noted that underground storage tanks normally last 25 to 30 years. The diesel equipment is 34 years old.

“That’s a significant response to what IDEM told me, they have 70 state-contracted employees to clean this up, they’re just fully committed to restoring the properties,” Hebner said.

Hebner said the cleaning has increased over the past 11 days.

Workers removed bags of debris, like a bucket brigade, from a wooded area next to the Memphis Christian Church. The spill was discovered outside the church, where a dam has now been constructed.

Other crews worked in airboats further down Silver Creek to scoop diesel-soaked debris from the creek by hand into bags.

A spokesperson for Loves said they were working diligently to clean up the spill. A response to the January violation letter has not yet been publicly filed, and a spokesperson did not respond to a question about it.

“They’ve identified the source,” Hebner said. “Now they’re just working to contain it, this area in front of the truck stop.”.

State records show that Indiana had filed a lawsuit against Loves over issues with underground reservoirs.

It remains to be seen how this spill will play into this action.

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