THOMASVILLE — Rescue personnel responded to an overturned transport vehicle Thursday morning that was spilling a potentially dangerous substance.
Firefighters responded to an overturned vehicle at the intersection of Highway 19 North and Highway 84 at around 10 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they found a semi overturned on its side which was spilling an estimated 800 gallons of sodium hydroxide into the ground nearby.
Thomas County Emergency Management Director Chris Jones said the biggest dangers posed by sodium hydroxide is inhalation and contact with the skin, though he added that the fumes quickly dissipate in open air and pose no danger after about 150 feet.
365体育世界杯Fire department personnel concluded that the general public was not at risk from the spill, and concerns quickly turned toward protecting the local environment. Nearby schools were informed that students were not in any danger.
“That was one of our first point of contacts that we made, was letting them know that all of the kids were OK,” Jones said.
365体育世界杯Jones was unsure of any after-school activities that were canceled due to the spill.
365体育世界杯Meanwhile, the product continued to spill into a nearby ditch for about an hour, Jones said. Nearby grass quickly died at the spot where the substance had spilled.
365体育世界杯Public works employees assisted in off-loading sand to prevent the substance from continuing to run down the road into a nearby water source.
About 10 containers of sodium hydroxide, which were labeled hazardous, were en route to a delivery in Thomasville when the vehicle overturned. The containers each contained approximately 330 gallons of the liquid.
365体育世界杯A specialized clean-up team wearing hazmat suits assisted in unloading the containers from the trailer, from which they are to be moved elsewhere.
Jones initially estimated a 12-hour cleanup process, but said Thursday afternoon that work was being completed at a faster rate than anticipated.
“If they’re able to complete it in nine (hours) then the community is in better shape,” he said.
365体育世界杯A “sufficient amount” of dirt was placed to prevent possible evening rains from letting the substance run, Jones said. A vacuum truck is scheduled to arrive at the scene to collect as much of the liquid as possible for disposal.
Soil samples will then be taken to ensure the nearby area is clean of the substance.
“The soil has to be removed all the way down to a clean soil sample and then replaced and obviously grass put back over that,” Jones said.
365体育世界杯Each firefighter at the department receives an initial hazardous material training, Jones said, and that helped first responders efficiently respond to the hazard.
“The first firefighters (at the scene) got out the book that they referenced these types of incidents with and knew exactly how far, if any, evacuations needed to take place, the precautions from the personnel around the scene and such as that,” he said.
The fire chief was not aware of any charges pending against the driver, who was uninjured in the accident.
365体育世界杯Jones said he was unsure how the accident occurred. No other vehicles were involved in the incident.