50 Gallons of Traffic Paint Spilled on Tennessee Roads

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Looked at from just the right angle, abstract art lovers might find beauty in the paint spills that covered patches of roads in Maury County, Tenn.


However, the streams of yellow paint are not the work of a local artist. Instead, the nine-mile stretch of yellow running from Nashville Highway to Rutherford Lane is the result of a ruptured 275-gal tank leaking minor to heavy amounts of the gooey substance around Columbia.

On July 12, a truck driver for Mid-South Transport of Memphis, lost nearly 50 gal of the yellow paint used to stripe roads sometime around 11:30 p.m. He was delivering the paint from the Sherwin Williams Co. to Interstate Road Management.

Crews from Florida-based Waterblasting.com got started on Saturday morning, July 15, removing the spilled paint on the Columbia roadways.

The company uses a unique device called a Stripe Hog which is manufactured by its sister company Waterblasting Technologies . The Stripe Hog uses 40,000 lb per sq in. of waterblasting to remove all types of pavement markings from roads and runways.

"This paint spill, in its worse spots, is very similar to some runway markings because of their size," said company marketing director Dave Friday.

Friday did not give an estimate of exactly how long the cleanup would take but said he was confident it would be thorough and relatively quick.

"We'll be there however long it takes to do the job right," Friday said. "A benefit to the drivers and citizens of Columbia is that our process will be the quickest, cleanest way of removing these markings. With this equipment and process, we'll have the effected lanes closed down for a minimal amount of time to not inconvenience drivers any more than necessary."

Friday explained the Stripe Hog has a built-in recovery system that immediately vacuums up the water and paint and leaves the road surface clean and nearly dry with little or no damage to asphalt or concrete surfaces. It was developed eight years ago and has been used in 30 states and seven countries.

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