The smell of death hung over a stretch of Houston Street Thursday evening – wretched, horrible, disgusting, according to residents – after a hauler spilled animal remains on the roadway.
According to Kilgore City Manager Josh Selleck, “It was a beef product, slurry. It wasn’t as easy to ID as the previous spills we’ve experienced, because it appeared to be partially processed.”
City streets employees were notified and traffic barriers were erected to divert vehicles away from the mess — the meat waste left the road dangerously slick in addition to the fetid odor.
“The smell is horrific,” according to one resident.
It was basically food waste, Selleck said, treated similar to a hazardous materials spill. The actual cleanup only took about half-an-hour, but it followed hours of coordination with other authorities.
“Getting to that point took a lot of hard work by Sgt. Terry Linder to manage and interface with a lot of people to make sure we knew what we were allowed to do with it,” Selleck added. “We had to involve TxDOT, TCEQ and a couple of other agencies to determine what the cleanup process was. Once we got the all-clear we were literally able to shovel it into buckets and dispose of it at the landfill.
“What we were able to get up of it only filled two five-gallon buckets. There was more of it on the ground, but it couldn’t be picked up. The remainder of it got washed off by the fire department.”
As of Friday, Selleck said he was unaware if the hauler had been identified. Trucking companies can be held responsible for clean-up costs and other fines following such incidents.
“The cleaning fees are the predominant issues. We treat those like hazmat cleanups. The rates on those are intended to be somewhat punitive,” he noted. “There’s a number of other issues also – No. 1, I don’t think Houston Street allows heavy traffic like the one that would be carrying that kind of slurry. So, potentially tickets or fines related to that also.”