Transformer tips; spills mineral oil at Pascagoula business

Transformer tips; spills mineral oil at Pascagoula business

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and Pascagoula firefighters rushed to a business on Jerry St. Pe Highway after a transformer tipped over on a pickup truck, and spilling 40 gallons of mineral oil on the ground.

"After berming it off, we assessed the situation and found there are no storm drains that got into it. So, there's no dangers to any surface waters out here," said MDEQ Emergency Services Coordinator Nick Hatten.

The truck belonged to Southern Power Systems of Baton Rouge. The manager of Alion says the truck driver was delivering a 3,000 pound transformer to Ingalls, located about a mile away, when he got lost and pulled into the parking lot.

As the driver tried to pass under the overhang, the six-foot-tall transformer hit the brick structure. The transformer ruptured, spilling the oil. Hatten says the oil is used to keep the transformer from overheating.

"It is an oil, so it is a flammable material. So we need to be very careful with people walking near the scene smoking and things like that," said Hatten.

Around 4:00 p.m., an environmental contractor for MDEQ arrived to start the cleanup.

"We'll use an absorbent to get the rest of it up and then we'll contain it and haul it away," said Hatten.

The transformer was turned upright, sealed off and sent back to Baton Rouge. Fortunately, no one was hurt and there was no damage to the building.

"A lot of places have height clearances, so many feet. I would say be very much aware of that and abide by it when you can," added Hatten.

Southern Power Systems President/CEO Troy Rispone told WLOX News Now that his company has a good safety record and called this an "unfortunate incident". Rispone also added that his company will pay for the cleanup costs.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.