A mysterious oil spill in West Lafayette put at least one driver in danger

A car accident is the reason West Lafayette Police found out about an oil spill around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Posted: Sep 18, 2019 11:36 PM
Updated: Sep 19, 2019 8:57 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- A car accident was the reason West Lafayette Police found out about an oil spill around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

A woman hit the oil slick in her van and slid into the guard rail on the off-ramp from Harrison Bridge to River Road.

She is going to be OK, however responding agencies including the West Lafayette Street Department and West Lafayette Fire said the cleanup was trickier than usual.

"A street sweeper and some oil dry to try to absorb the spilled oil that was here," said West Lafayette Street Commissioner, Ben Anderson.

The process of cleaning an oil spill isn't easy when the road is filled with ridges.

"It definitely gets down into the groves and in the concrete, so we are just trying to get that absorbed up and sucked out of there," said Anderson.

For oil spills like this one, crews said the best thing to use is Dri-Sorb. It's actually ground up corn on the cob. They said it's the best thing to use because it is biodegradable.

"It's several times more absorbent than a clay-based or typical absorbent, so any of it that you don't get contaminated it is just like your lawn clippings," said Deputy Chief Jeff Need. "It is going to return to the Earth."

Responding agencies are unsure how much oil was spilled, but Anderson and Need said even a small amount can cause a problem.

"A few quarts of oil spread out real thin can make a very slick environment," said Need. "It's like a very small amount of water can make a sidewalk slick."

"A gallon of oil can look like a lot when it is spread out all over," said Anderson. "I mean we have no idea what this is from my understanding. We haven't been able to find who did it."

Police are not sure who did it. It could be an accident, but as far as what oil, Deputy Chief Need said it smelled like engine oil.

West Lafayette Police are not currently pursuing any leads.

The department said whoever did it could have no idea.

But if you know anything about who may have done this, give WLPD a call at 765-775-5200

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