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UPDATE: Tanker truck rolls, leaks gas near St. Paul Park refinery

A tanker truck rolled near the St. Paul Park refinery Wednesday morning, leaking gasoline into a nearby storm sewer and holding pond and forcing temporary street and railroad closures.

The semitrailer rolled onto its side and leaked gas from the tanker into a storm sewer on St. Paul Park Road near Summit Avenue, according to St. Paul Park police. The truck is owned by St. Paul Park Refinery LLC, which operates the nearby oil refinery.

"The roads were icy and the tanker tipped, spilling about 500 gallons of gas and diesel," said Pam McCurdy, information officer with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

McCurdy said the MPCA was on scene shortly after the spill happened, along with Cottage Grove police and multiple other agencies. 

Passers-by reported the rollover at about 6:30 a.m. and helped the truck driver, Michael G. York of Coon Rapids, out of the cab. He said he was not injured, according to a police report.

St. Paul Park Mayor Keith Franke said the fluid spilled into a holding pond beneath St. Paul Park Road, and the pond had to be drained.

"Crews used special absorbents to clean up the spill," McCurdy said. "They are like huge cotton balls made out of fabric that collect gas."

Police blocked off access to the area for most of the day Wednesday, and for a time halted Burlington Northern Santa Fe from running trains on its nearby rail line.

McCurdy said because the tanker had to be "offloaded," or emptied before being turned upright, the incident took longer than usual to clear.

The spill was reported to the state's duty officer and McCurdy said nearby residents are not at risk, and the storm sewer and holding pond are not at risk for contamination. 

Bulletin reporter Emily Buss contributed to this story.

Check back for updates.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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