Transfer station fuel leak

A trash compactor at the Wilton transfer station was leaking hydraulic oil for an “extended period of time” before a permanent fix to the problem was put in place in March, a report by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says.
However, Director of Public Works Tom Thurkettle said Wednesday that leaks are expected when dealing with a high-pressure machine like a trash compactor. He also said that only 10 gallons of fuel leaked from the machine.
Residents first reported the problem to the DEEP after seeing a large absorbent boom at the transfer station two months ago. These booms are generally used to control chemical spills, so residents asked the DEEP to inspect the site.
After a brief visual review on Jan. 16 of a trash compactor — which was partially surrounded by a number of the absorbent booms — a DEEP inspector found the compactor had leaked at least 10 gallons of hydraulic fuel — though no one could remember how long it had been leaking.
“I then questioned DPW workers as to how long [the compactor tank] had been leaking, and [they] could not confirm an exact date but that it had been leaking for an extended period of time,” said DEEP employee John Aceto in a report from January.
First Selectman Bill Brennan said earlier this week the incident was “not a big deal” and the town had handled the problem, cleaning the trash compactor and surrounding ground of hydraulic fluids, and fixing the storage tank.
“We pumped out all of the hydraulic fluid so the tank could get welded,” Mr. Brennan said, and the tank was reinstalled March 11.
Mr. Thurkettle noted that any leak from the compactor went directly onto a concrete slab, which is always surrounded by “diapers,” which stop chemicals from leaking off the concrete.
“If you look at the concrete, we always have the diapers around it just in case anything happens,” he said. “It’s sort of a standard setup.”
Now that the leak has been fixed, the DPW director said, “everything” involved with the compactor is new, including a fixed tank and new hydraulic hoses.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, little is known about the environmental effects of hydraulic fluid in the environment.
“Certain chemicals in hydraulic fluids may break down in air, soil, or water, but how much breaks down isn’t known,” it says.
Most negative exposure to hydraulic fluids occur in the workplace, the agency says, with topical exposure causing irritation of skin and eyes. Drinking hydraulic oil, the agency says, can cause death or serious nerve damage.