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Date Posted
June 9, 2020

Sometime early on the morning of June 6 a significant spill occurred on Grey County Road 40 and Grey Road 3 leaving an unknown tar-like substance on the road surface. The spill stretched more than 60 kilometers. It appears the issue began when the vehicle was in Chatsworth, then it travelled west down Grey Road 40, turning south at Grey Road 3, and continuing through Ayton and into Wellington County. The spill was not reported. Grey County is looking to the public for help identifying the driver.

“This is a serious and dangerous incident. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but we still need to find out who is responsible and what happened to cause such a widespread spill,” said Pat Hoy, Grey County’s director of transportation. “We’re asking for the public’s help. Anyone with information about the spill, or anyone who witnessed it, are asked to contact Grey County.”

Tips can be sent by email to roads@grey.ca or by calling 1-800-567-4739.

A Chatsworth Township resident notified Grey County about the spill just before 9:30 a.m. on June 6. Crews from two patrols were sent to the scene to investigate and ensure the road was safe. Sand was applied to the surface to try and dry it and add more traction. Staff performed stop tests at multiple times during the day to ensure the road remained safe. The material on the road hardened as it dried, similar to tar.  

 “Now that the material has hardened, we’re having success removing it with our sweepers,” said Hoy. “If this was an oil spill, we could have been looking at more than $50,000 to properly clean up. Spills can also damage other vehicles, leading to avoidable insurance claims.”

The estimated cost of responding to the spill and cleaning it up is around $8,000.

“Every spill can be dangerous if it’s not cleaned up quickly, and it’s important they are reported right away so our crews can clean them up safely and properly,” said Hoy.

Spills that require clean up should be reported to the proper road authority. If it’s a road maintained by Grey County, the best number to call is 519-376-7337. For roads maintained by Bruce County, contact the OPP communications centre at 1‑888‑310‑1122 or Saugeen Shores police at 519-832-9200. To report a spill on a local municipal road, contact the municipality or the police.

If a spill involves chemicals or other harmful substances (including materials like oil, tar and salt) the responsible party is also legally required to contact the Ministry of Environment tip line at 1-866-MOE-TIPS (1‑866‑663‑8477).

“This is a bad situation that could have been a lot worse,” said Hoy. “We hope it will serve as a reminder for anyone hauling materials to double check their loads before heading out on the road, and if they do have a spill, to pull over and report it.

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For media inquiries contact Rob Hatten, communications manager, at rob.hatten@grey.ca or call 51-373-1592.

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