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ruflyn

10:13AM | 07/11/04
Member Since: 07/05/04
5 lifetime posts
Bvmisc
We had a tree cut down, the limbs were growning over our roof. The tree service was using a bucket truck and the hydraulic line broke and spilled hydraulic fluid on our roof, at least a ten foot wide spill. It looked like a fire truck putting out a fire. They washed it off. But could it have pentatrated the shingles and would it be harmful to breathe?

rufus taylor

tomh

02:51PM | 07/11/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
550 lifetime posts
Hydraulic fluid is an petroleum, mineral or in some rare cases vegetable based oil that is thermally stabil, so it have a very high evaporation point. It does not normally give off hazardous vapors unless in enclosed spaces or high temperatures. An example of when you might have vapors is if the oil leaks onto the engine manifold. In that case, it smells like most oil or petroleum products when they burn.

I have a number of forestry clients that are starting to use the vegetable based oils simply because of the high cost of cleanup in the event of a spill, especially to water.

Shingles are manufactured from modified asphalt on an organic or fiberglass substrate. Granules are applied while the asphalt is hot. Oil and grease contaminants can cause premature roof system damage. I see this at some restaurants and industry locations with oil mists. It can cause the roof materials to discolor, soften, delaminate, blister or crack. I would expect to see the effects from a one-time oil contamination fairly quickly, and would consist of a change in appearance, hardness, or loss of granules. IF damage ocurred, this should be something you can actually see or touch. If the affected area, after cleaning, does not appear or feel different from the rest of the roof, I would be surprised if anything would turn up later.

A release of hydraulic fluid can cause property or environmental damage. The spiller is liable for the cleanup and proper disposal of oil wastes. My suggestion is that you simply write a letter to the company documenting the time and specific location of the accident. Thank them for the cleanup, but inform them you will expect reimbursement or repair if the affected area fails prematurely. Keep a copy for your records. Thats about all you can do. If nothing shows up for the rest of the summer, you (and they) are probably home free.

Is there any remaining discoloration or texture change?

ruflyn

06:27PM | 07/11/04
Member Since: 07/05/04
5 lifetime posts
You can still see a light shadow where the spill occured. There is a 2ftx2ft section on the back side of the roof that they didn't wash off. The front is not obvious except early in the am, the sun shines directly on the roof the rest of the day. My roof is about 5 years old.

rufus taylor

tomh

08:32PM | 07/11/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
550 lifetime posts
If you have roof damage, talk with the contractor. They are insured for damages from accidents like this. It will not make tham happy to file a claim, but as a licensed contractor they have to carry liability insurance and a mechaical failure with the hydraulic system is certainly an insured loss. If I showed up at a client's site and had an oil leak, it would be my responsibilty to fully clean and repair damages. Ask for the name and number of their insurance adjuster, or request the affected roof section be replaced by a qualified roofing contractor. If they will not cooperate you need to elevate your complaint to the contractors licensing board.

What state or municipality?
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