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article imageWashington oil spill causes road closings, accidents and injuries Special

By Kim I. Hartman     Jul 8, 2010 in World
Washington - Yesterday morning at 5 a.m, a sticky, gooey mess was discovered on U Street, one of the well known historical areas of the District. It was an oily substance and was being spread for miles by cars on the way into the city.
At that time the source of the unknown gunk couldn't be determined and had created traffic problems and street closings along the U street corridor to both automobile traffic and pedestrian traffic after numerous falls had occurred.
The traffic was also having problems negotiating through the street slipping and sliding while their vehicles drove through the goo, making an even larger slick of gunk that extended for miles in every direction.
The City Department of Public Works, the Metro Police and Real Estate Services decided collectively that the streets must be closed until the substance was identified and properly cleaned from the to prevent auto accidents and any more falls from pedestrians and bicycle riders who use the busy U-street corridor on their way to their offices in the District.
Safety was the priority when the decision was made to close down the popular and historical U-Street area. Equipment was brought in that included street cleaners, trucks of sand and equipment to load and spread it out over the messy muck until it was safe again for commuters, tourists, shoppers and workers.
The Department of Public works had to close the street as the attempted to spread sand to absorb the...
The Department of Public works had to close the street as the attempted to spread sand to absorb the large amount of this greasy substance.
Washington's Metro Police Department was out in full strength after dozens of people walking to work or riding bicycles were falling one after another into this slick, greasy type mess that went for blocks on U Street and was now being spread onto other streets by the tires of the morning commuters.
Police officers on the scene were hesitant to try to identify the goo but did say that it smelled of vomit and had the consistency of dirty restaurant oil that may have leaked from a truck picking up the restaurants barrels of grease left up for trash services and cooking oil removal companies had made a mess of which halted traffic in this busy corridor of the city. There was also a hint of feces odor and just an overall unpleasant and a bit overpowering stench.
Many people had traversed through the mess trying to get to their offices early yesterday morning. Many accidents occurred including spills and falls by local residents.
When contacted yesterday the Mayor's office had few answers but were able to provide a statement this morning after looking into the incident and beginning their own investigation into this mess.
This is what it looked like at the first intersection we approached. Metro police were quick to tell...
This is what it looked like at the first intersection we approached. Metro police were quick to tell us to move on when our car stopped at a light and we tried to get a few pictures of the news event.
When asked what caused the spill, Linda Grant a public information officer for the City of Washington, DC replied:
The District government believes the spill was caused by a truck that collects cooking oil from restaurants. The Department of Public Works, Metropolitan Police Department and Department of Real Estate Services are working together, reviewing videotape, to see if we can identify the truck and the company.
The spill was along U Street, NW, between 7th and 16th Streets, NW. Wednesday morning, the District Department of Transportation and DPW spread sand along U Street, as well as V Street to the north and Rhode Island Avenue to the south between 7th and 16th Streets to absorb the oil.
Wednesday afternoon, DPW (Dept. of Public Works) street sweepers removed most of the sand. The streets that had been closed were reopened late morning on Wednesday.
Digital Journal asked "Was more clean-up expected and is the street now open for Thursday morning rush hour traffic? Grant replied:
Starting at midnight Wednesday, the Department of Public Works deployed a variety of street sweepers to continue removing the sand from the area affected by the oil spill – 7th Street, NW on the east, 16th Street on the west, V Street on the north and Rhode Island Avenue on the south. Two 3,000-gallon flushers, loaded with a water-soluble degreaser, sprayed this solution on the streets. The work was completed before the morning rush hour was set to begin today.
Following the first report of an unidentified gunk on the streets  Dc Public Works and Metro Police ...
Following the first report of an unidentified gunk on the streets, Dc Public Works and Metro Police shut down traffic in this area.
The city of Washington, DC will continue investigating and implement changes if necessary to see that it doesn't happen again.
At this time they have no response to questions asking if there are or were any danger to birds, pets or wild animals or if the run-off will effect groundwater from the gooey oil that made it's way into storm water drainage points that divert heavy downpours for storm water management.
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