Cleburne officials find oily substance dumped along miles of county roads
by Laura Camper
Dec 22, 2013 | 5623 views |  0 comments | 86 86 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleburne County officials last week found a “black, smelly substance” that had been dumped alongside about 12 to 15 miles of county roads, they said Sunday.

The liquid was sprayed about two feet from the roadway along County Road 49 from just north of Interstate 20 all the way to Muscadine, said Steve Swafford, county administrator. Then the source of the substance appears to have turned left onto U.S. 78 and traveled west to Edwardsville, Swafford said.

As the trail went through intersections with other roads or driveways, it basically “slimed the intersection,” Swafford said.

The county began to receive calls from the public about the substance on Thursday, officials said.

The county notified the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the Alabama Department of Transportation, Swafford said.

A representative from ADEM told the county Friday that the substance was a used vegetable-based cooking oil by-product that might be found in grease traps, he said.

“There was no doubt it was done deliberately,” said Shannon Robbins, county engineer.

The trail was stopped and started three or four times, Robbins said. For instance, it ended for a time in Fruithurst and again in Lebanon, Robbins said.

The county didn’t have to clean up the substance, Robbins said. ADEM said it would be safe to allow the oil to dissipate naturally. But it did cause slippery conditions in some areas, Robbins said. The county put sand down in one area where the oil was spread over the drive of a church in Muscadine, he said.

“It was just a mess for them trying to get in and out of the parking lot,” Robbins said.

The county is asking for any information about the possible dumper including anyone who might have seen a truck spraying in that area. Anyone with such information is asked to contact Swafford at 256-463-3822 or by email at

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.

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