FARMINGTON – Firefighters on Monday morning worked to secure an excavator that tumbled into the Sandy River sometime over the weekend, fire Chief Terry Bell said.

The excavator was being used by T. Buck Construction of Auburn on a Sewer Department project, Town Manager Richard Davis said Monday.

It had been left at the construction site along the Sandy River, Bell said.

“Over the weekend with the heavy rains, the river has risen, and it undermined the ground where the excavator was sitting and flipped it over,” he said.

It’s sitting in the river.

It was discovered Monday morning when a Farmington Falls woman saw a filmy substance on the water in the river. Firefighters followed the film up the river until they reached the sewage treatment plant and saw the excavator, Bell said.

“It’s been leaking,” he said, of the excavator. “From what I understand from the (T. Buck) divers, I guess it’s not safe to be around the piece of equipment until the water recedes.”

Davis said a crane will be used to retrieve excavator.

Maine Department of Environmental Protection officials inspected the site Monday, Bell said, and told him there was no further danger to the environment. Any damage had already been done, he said.

“The water’s flowing so fast, it’s not going to cling to much,” Bell said of fluids.

Sandy River is a tributary of the Kennebec River.

The DEP put a boom out in an attempt to keep any more oil and gas from leaking from the excavator, but Bell said the water is flowing so fast the boom isn’t doing much good.

The problem shouldn’t cost the town anything, Davis said.

Calls to T. Buck Construction went unanswered Monday.


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