August 04, 2020

Trucker dumps fish waste near Route 9

TOWNSHIP 22 — A 23-year-old Milbridge truck driver began the holiday weekend by cleaning up more than 200 pounds of fish waste he dumped over an embankment Friday near Route 9.

Trooper Cliff Sibley of the Maine State Police said James Leighton was taking 40,000 pounds of fish parts to a Nova Scotia fish bait company when the uncovered load began to leak somewhere around the Whale’s Back on Route 9.

For the next few miles, fish slurry slopped from the truck every time Leighton’s truck climbed a hill, Sibley said.

“He decided to alleviate the situation by dumping some of the load on private property,” Sibley said.

Leighton pulled off Route 9, drove to a piece of land owned by Jean Johnson of Hulls Cove, backed the truck onto a grassy area and dumped some of the fish parts over an embankment in Township 22 in Hancock County.

The stench created by the fish would have assured its discovery, but Leighton was apprehended immediately.

Warden Phil White of Cherryfield was watching as Leighton dumped the fish, Sibley said.

As of Friday afternoon, Leighton was recovering the waste and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection had ordered him to take it to a licensed fish waste disposal site, Sibley said.

Rick Haffner of the DEP said he didn’t know where Leighton would take the waste. He said the closest disposal facility is a composting operation in Addison. The DEP will check to assure that Leighton follows through on the order, he said.

Sibley said Leighton is a driver for Leighton Trucking, a Steuben company owned by his father. Leighton picked up the load of fish parts from Stinson Canning in Bath and Prospect Harbor, the trooper said.

The Maine Department of Transportation sanded several areas of Route 9 where spots of fish waste made driving slick, he said.

Sibley said he still was investigating potential trucking violations.

Fish waste is supposed to be transported in a covered trailer, he said.

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