7,300 gallons of biodiesel spills near Lake Texana

About 7,300 gallons of biodiesel spilled Thursday near Lake Texana. The crash occurred one mile south of Ganado on U.S. 59, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A collision outside of Ganado caused thousands of gallons of biodiesel to spill on Thursday near Lake Texana.

A truck tractor towing a semitrailer was southbound on U.S. 59 in the outside lane at about 2 a.m. when the driver saw a man driving a piece of equipment used to grind or cut up concrete crossing U.S. 59, said Sgt. Ruben San Miguel, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“The driver saw the piece of equipment a little too late,” he said. “He swerved to the left into the inside lane in an effort to avoid it and clipped the right rear of the roadway equipment with the front right of his tractor truck.”

The driver of the truck tractor, 39-year-old Mark Arron Flanigan, then lost control and his vehicle traveled into the median where it rolled on its side, he said.

The crash occurred about one mile south of Ganado, San Miguel said. Neither Flanigan nor the driver of the roadway equipment, 23-year-old Loera Cesar Puentes, were injured.

San Miguel said clean up of the fuel took several hours, though one north and south bound lane remained open for the majority of the time to keep traffic flowing.

An estimated 7,300 gallons of biodiesel spilled from the semitrailer, according to Brian McGovern, a spokesperson for Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

TCEQ was notified of the spill at about 2:50 a.m. Thursday, he said.

“A contractor used a dike and a vacuum truck to remove free-standing product,” he said. “Approximately 8,400 gallons of biodiesel mixed with water has been recovered.”

Excavation of contaminated soil is underway, he said.

The spill occurred about a half mile from Lake Texana, though McGovern said no impact to the water had been discovered.

There were also no known or anticipated impacts to plants, wildlife or the health of residents, he said.

San Miguel said the crash is still under investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety and no citations had been issued as of 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Kali Venable is an investigative and environmental reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at kvenable@vicad.com.

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Investigative & Environmental Reporter

"I am a Houston native and 5th generation Texan, with a degree in journalism and minor in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin. I care deeply about public interests and the community I serve.”

(3) comments

Glenn Wilson

Kali, “He swerved to the left into the inside lane in an effort to avoid it and clipped the right rear of the roadway equipment with the front left of his tractor truck.” -- I think you mean front right of his tractor truck. If the equipment was crossing in front of him, as written, he would have had to impact the whole front of his truck, commonly referred to as T-boning, in order to involve the left front.

Glenn Wilson

"... driving a piece of equipment used to grind or cut up concrete crossing U.S. 59..." -- Was this equipment street legal; registered, licensed and state inspected? If not, is that why it was being driven at 2 am?

Brian Vandale

Glenn, and why was it even being used at that time. I doubt someone was grating the highway, they need to check and see if maybe it was reported missing from a site near by.

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