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At LIE crash site, trying to limit environmental impact

A fuel tanker clipped a sedan, flipped and

A fuel tanker clipped a sedan, flipped and ignited on the eastbound side of the LIE near Exit 48 on Jan. 23, 2010. Credit: Paul Mazza

A day after a tanker truck hauling 12,000 gallons of gasoline crashed and burned on the Long Island Expressway, cleanup crews remained on the scene Sunday to try to limit environmental hazards.

PHOTOS: Fiery LIE crash and its aftermath

>>VIDEO: Click here to watch footage from the blaze

>> UPDATES: Click here to see traffic cameras and real-time congestion maps

"We still don't know exactly how much got into the drainage and recharge basin or burned as a result of the fire," said state Department of Environmental Conservation official Nick Acampora. "But the cleaning has progressed as expected. We don't expect it to go very deep because we are acting pretty quickly."

Burning gasoline from the tanker that crashed just east of Exit 48 in Melville spilled onto the roadway, flowed into expressway storm drains and ran down an embankment, engulfing asphalt and setting it on fire. More than 1,000 gallons of fuel and fire-retardant foam remained in the tanker after the blaze and was pumped out.

Some residue also spilled into a local basin used to catch roadway runoff. Heavy equipment was used to remove sediment from the basin Sunday.

Loose sand was placed around storm drains to minimize environmental damage and picked up later, said DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters.

Peters also said that a 100-foot-by-200-foot section of asphalt was removed and the road resurfaced. DOT crews remained on the scene until 5 a.m. Sunday, she said. "This was a major undertaking to get this done as quickly and as safely as possible," she said.

Acampora said the DEC has vacuum trucks to remove contaminated water, gasoline and foam.

"We will continue to assess it and we are assessing it this afternoon and tomorrow to see if there is any other work needed down there," he said.

PHOTOS: Fiery LIE crash and its aftermath

>> UPDATES: Click here to see traffic cameras and real-time congestion maps

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