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15 tons of drilling fluid spilled after truck overturns

A truck spilled 15 tons of drilling fluid after it overturned on Highway 64 in Faulkner County Wednesday morning.

According to Vilonia Emergency Management Director, Keith Hillman, the accident happened around 5 a.m. The incident occurred on the Highway 64 westbound bypass at Highway 107 near Vilonia.

"The guy went to sleep. The dump truck - I don't know how they haul that stuff - they overturned and everything just came out in it," Hillman said. "He had a dump truck full of what they call 'fracking oil' that overturned. He went across the barriers there and through the median and overturned and spilled his load."

Hillman said the M&M Environmental Oil Field Services truck was headed to a reclamation plant in El Paso. It took emergency crews more than 7 hours to get the contents of the truck off the highway.

"It was like a real thick molasses, but a whole bunch of it all across the whole road," Hillman said. "It is a lubricant that they use during the fracking process. It's mainly water, dirt and a little bit of oil. It stinks a little bit, but there's no harm."

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality says the spilled substance is drilling fluid, also known as "drilling mud".

While crews cleaned the road, it forced authorities to temporarily shut down a portion of Highway 64.

"What they have to do is they have to remove every bit that was spilled. They will dig down about a foot and a half deep. They will replace it with gravel," Hillman said.

The driver of the truck was transported to a local hospital to be checked out, but was not injured.

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