Oil/Grease Spill on U Street NW – Massive Clean up Continues

Photo courtesy of @DDOTDC

Around 7:30 this morning word started to spread on twitter that U Street was a mess. Literally. Around 9am DDOTDC updates on twitter:

“U street NW closed in both directions due to grease spill. Cleanup could take another 1-2 hours. Use alt. routes.”

At 9:50am they write:

“Update: U St will reopen shortly. Traffic will help grind sand into roadway but use extreme caution. 10 mph please.”

Word is the spill spreads all the way from 16th to 7th St, NW.

DCist reports:

“According to a DDOT employee working on the scene, a truck that was driving down U Street at 4 a.m. this morning left a significant trail of oil and grease on the road.”

Anyone pass through this morning?

Photo courtesy of Jay’O

23 Comment

  • This explains why the 54 bus took a detour this morning!

  • And the truck took a wrong way tour down the 1200 block of T St. as part of his/her journey. That grease smelled bad.

  • Just read another news story that says it might have been sewage according to an alleged eyewitness…something about a sewage truck carrying port-a-johns on the back leaking something…yuck. Won’t be going that route for a while.

  • yes, not long ago — was coming south on 9th and it was a mess even all the way over there. did not smell at all like sewage, though — thank goodness for that.

  • the company of the truck should put a couple million dollars in escrow to pay us for lost work time due to terrible commutes because of this oil spill that could have been prevented!

  • me

    I was headed south on 14th and made a right onto U, going towards Dupont, around 7:15 this morning. Police had blocked off U Street going the opposite direction, but I was fine and didn’t notice any oil/sewage (ew!)/sludge on the road. My husband drove the opposite way on U Street around 6am and says his car is covered in… stuff. Think I’ll go out and look at my car to make sure, but I think I’m fine. Maybe I was too sleepy to notice anything on the ground?

  • Hope the details of how so much grease leaked from the truck are explained…there is a “Valley Protein” grease bin in the alley behind Ben’s, (and Georgia Brown’s downtown) How is the actual removal of so much grease accomplished? I crossed U at 11th at 7:45, the sand had just been spread with police closing more streets. When a friend’s ancient horse died in Leesburg, the same company was called to take it to the same processing facility in Winchester.

  • Passed U heading down 14th around 7:15 this morning on my bike. It was a weird situation. A number of police cars lining 14th on the east and west parts of the U St intersection, lots of guys in blue coveralls just sitting on the sidewalk, looking like they were waiting to get at something. It was hard to tell what the issue was, but I definitely noticed some kind of a film on the ground and an odd smell, definitely more grease than sewage, happy to say. I can imagine the 54 was a mess this morning like no other.

  • This also explains why I nearly slid off the curb when crossing U on 13th on my way to the subway this AM.
    I thought the street was merely wet.

  • It was grease. Once you’ve worked in a McDonalds you can’t forget the smell. I felt bad for the cops that had to be out in it this morning. It’s going to be really gross for a while.

  • Ran across U on 13th around 8:30. There were lots of trucks and U was covered in sand. I didn’t really give much thought to what was going on but it seemed like something strange was afoot; my shoes did not grip the sidewalk well for about a half a block after I crossed. It DEFINITELY smelled like grease and not sewage.

  • my block at 9th and T was closed for the sanding as well, but i didnt really smell anything. musnt have paid attention.

  • I walked down U street a few hours ago on my way to the metro. Talk about GROSS! Seems like the bulk of the spill was just west of 14th on U. While U and the cross streets were closed for a few blocks, there was even a pedestrian detour right at 14th and U. They were putting down tons of sand, but that didn’t seem to do much. When I crossed 13th, my shoes picked up some of the greasy sand making my shoes slippery even on the concrete sidewalks. The worst part was the air was sticky and hard to breath from all the grease evaporating from the ground. Nearly everyone I walked past was coughing from the stench or had a disgusted-trying-not-to-breath look on their face.

  • I just spoke with a Dept of Environment person that said word on the street is that a company collecting used frier oil from restuaraunts picked up the oil all over U street and then had a leak. MPD detectives are on the scence trying to figure out who is responsible.

    Also – the City folks responsible for storm water run off are here to make sure it doesn’t foul our waterways.

    I hope they fine the hell out of whoever did this. The City’s response is huge, but costly.

  • Passed through on my way to work at U and 15th. Looked and smelled like a first-grader yakked in the hallway, and the janitor sprinkled some sawdust on it. Only in this case, the hallway was all of U Street, and the janitor was a mess of cleanup crew using a dumptruck full of sand. So gross. Way to wear open-toed shoes to work today, me.

  • I have an unexplained craving for popcorn shrimp

  • One of my coworkers had a suggestion upon her delayed arrival at work this morning:
    “Throw down some flour and fry up some chicken!”

  • NPR & NBC both said it was USED cooking oil…yum i bet it smells like french fries and chix fingers!

  • The gross part is that is what our bar food was cooked in last night.

  • I demand that Jon Stewart get on this right now!

    And I want a webcam installed to show the flow of grease on the street!

  • It was great! I pulled a sliding donut out into a fish-tailed powerslide on my way to work… It was a great morning!!! It was amazing how far those grease truck idiots went before they found out they were leaking, and even more amazing how far the grease spread afterwards. LOL.

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