February 11 marks National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day — a day where we take it easy on ourselves and let the things that are stinging our self-esteem go.
It sounds great, right? We all could take this time to refill our glass-half-full positive attitude.
But what about when it isn’t one glass of milk that spills, but thousands of gallons of milk?
Crash and Spill
Okay, a milk spill isn’t as dramatic and life-threatening as a petroleum crash and burn scenario. But, just last month in Philadelphia, NBC Philadelphia reported how a tanker truck crashed and spilled 6,000 gallons of raw milk “onto privately owned marsh and meadowlands in southwestern Pennsylvania.”
Luckily, the milk spill occurred one mile from a creek. According to NBC Philadelphia, “Although milk isn’t a hazardous material, it can kill fish and other aquatic life if it reaches a waterway in high concentrations.”
The emergency management team brought in a clean-up crew and a crew to fix the power lines from the crash.
Milk Gone Bad
Many people drink milk, how bad can it be?
Pretty bad, actually.
Remember that even though marketers tout milk as doing-a-body-good wholesomeness with calcium and vitamin D richness, there is more than that. There’s the recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), mastitis and antibiotics. And pus cells –millions upon millions (literally) of oozy pus cells.
More Spilled Milk
The 2014 Philadelphia milk spill isn’t an isolated incident.
Gawker highlights some of the most damaging milk spills of the past two decades:
– In October 1994, a Massachusetts tanker truck forced a road to be closed down when it crashed and spilled 2,000 gallons of milk. State officials were worried about the 2,000 gallons entering the storm drains where the milk “could have spurred algae growth.”
– Milk spills aren’t always from crashes. In April 2000, the Environment Agency, in England, was worried about the 3,000 liters of spilled milk from a farm’s waste lagoon. A representative of the Agency explained that, “‘The problem is that microbes in the water work on decomposing the milk, which takes the oxygen out of the water causing the fish to die.’”
– In July 2002, another tanker truck spilled 5,000 gallons of milk in England. An Emergency Agency representative claimed that milk “is a highly polluting substance.” 50,000 fish were in danger.
– In July 2004, a Minnesota tank truck spilled 6,000 gallons of milk onto a lake. Despite the crew’s efforts to contain the spill, the milk had already penetrated the lake, and the lake had to be closed for a year.
– In December 2011, a highway had to be closed in Colorado Springs after a milk tanker truck crashed. A Fire Department representative explained: “‘Milk is a hazardous material. We also have diesel fuel mixed into that, so the combination of both of them is not good for our creeks or streams or anything getting into the ground.’”
Nothing Free About Spilled Milk for You
You should also know that some milk spills can cost taxpayers money. That’s something that a lot of taxpayers would cry over.
The Sandusky Register reported that Erie County, in Ohio, had to cough up $1,300 in 2013 to cover the clean-up costs of eight different spills because it deemed each spill “an immediate threat to public safety.”
The clean-up cost for one milk spill was $395. Comparatively, a diesel spill cost $282, and a fuel spill cost $470.
Milk Spills Can Kill, Obama Did Nil
Leave it to taxpayers to clean-up the mess because it’s clear that the Obama administration isn’t going to do anything. In 2012, the administration publicly addressed removing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that treated milk spills as oil, so that dairy farmers didn’t have to cough up $10,000 per year.
Including milk in the EPA rules isn’t too far-fetched. According to the EPA, “All kinds of oils, including animal fats and vegetable oils, have been considered oils under the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule based on the legislative definition of ‘oil’ in the Clean Water Act.”
Photo Credit: Olle Svensson