Police probe milk spill

State police are investigating the cause of a milk truck crash that occurred Saturday in Bedford County.

Between 4,000 to 5,000 gallons of milk spilled onto grassy, marshy area that is privately owned, police said.

The long cylindrical tank toppled onto its side and milk gushed from the man-hole sized opening into a culvert. The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Power lines downed by the truck, when it smashed into a utility pole, needed to be disabled before wrecker services could access the truck to pull it upright, Bedford County Emergency Management Director Dave Cubbison said.

Penelec crews had a delayed arrival, Cubbison said, because he had to relay directions to out-of-state workers who are temporarily stationed in Altoona as local Penelec employees are in the middle of a lock out.

Milk destroys aquatic life if it enters a tributary. Fortunately, the milk spilled a mile away from Dunnings Creek, Cubbison said. The bacterial properties of milk accelerate the breakdown of oxygen and deplete it. A Department of Environmental Protection representative was on scene, Cubbison said.

“The end result here was very good,” Cubbison said. “Had it happened to spill directly into a creek, we would have had some environmental impact.”

He said in that case, first responders would have dammed the polluted tributary to contain the milk. Powdered lime would have likely been dumped into the water to slow the depletion of oxygen that milk causes.