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UPDATE: Cooking oil spread along Hwy. 65

UPDATE Friday, Aug. 26

New Richmond Police Chief Craig Yehlik told The News that the truck that spread cooking oil along Hwy. 65 on the south side of New Richmond had faulty equipment that caused a leak.

Though the chief didn't have the name of the driver operating the vehicle, he said the vehicle belongs to Sanimax, a company located at 505 Hardman Ave. S., South St Paul, Minn.

"It was a malfunction in equipment on the truck that caused the leak," Yehlik said. 

The company collects used cooking oil and organic food waste from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Ontario. The company then recycles it into marketable goods. 

According to the company's website: "Each day, our transportation and logistics team travels more than 40,000 kilometers to service our customers from the agri-food industry and collect by-products. Each year, Sanimax reclaims and brings to its various plants nearly two billion kilograms of byproducts that would otherwise be sent to landfills."

Yehlik went on to caution that motorcyclists and bicyclists should be aware that not all of the oil would be cleared from the road immediately and that it would take some time and the work of Mother Nature to make that happen. 

"With the first rain, it may become slick, so people need to be aware of that," Yehlik said.

City of New Richmond street crews spent a portion of the day Thursday, Aug. 25, cleaning up the spill.

According to city officials, the cost in manpower, sand and equipment wouldn't exceed $1,000.

Text of original story published Thursday, Aug. 25

Though the name of the driver of a vehicle that is alleged to have spread used cooking oil along Hwy. 65 on the south side of the city of New Richmond hasn't been released, police chief Craig Yehlik said a citation was issued today.

This morning, Thursday, Aug. 25, police had partially closed the right lane of Hwy. 65 while city crews spread sand to begin the cleanup of the oil that appeared to have been dumped from a moving vehicle.

Yehlik stated in an email to city administrator Mike Darrow and shared with The News, that "the oil was used cooking oil. Our officers stopped and cited the driver. [the street department] has been working on placing sand and have started the cleanup. We are also notifying the DNR of the spill. I have not heard how many gallons may have been spilled."

More information about the incident will be reported here when it becomes available.

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