Hazardous materials found in Terrell County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hazardous materials found in Terrell County

Terrell County - Terrell County leaders say they immediately called MCLB for help when two 55-gallon drums marked as hazmat were found, but they say it took hours for anyone from the base to respond.

The only sign of the corrosive substance that leaked out of drums found on the side of Jimmy Raines road, is the mud left behind, along with questions about what was in those containers.

"The main concern, initially, of course was what it was, because we didn't have any idea," says Terrell County EMA Director, Billy McClung. But he has another concern. He says it took more than seven hours to get someone from the base's hazmat department to respond. McClung says, "If it would have been something highly toxic and dangerous, not only our lives, but anybody in that area's lives could have been in danger."

McClung, along with Fire Chief Vince Almon, called Base officials, GEMA, the EPD, even Congressman Sanford Bishop trying to find someone to clean up the waste. Chief Almon says, "Our biggest concern is, we have a mutual aid agreement with the base to handle our hazmat here in this county, but at this time, we don't know who would respond under hazmat circumstances."

Capt. Steve Butler, MCLB Public Affairs Director says, "This was actually a learning experience for both Terrell County as well as the Marine Corps Logistics Base. Although we do have a memorandum of understanding, sometimes it's not clear until an incident happens, so we're going to make sure that's solidified and cleaned up, so that we know who's responsible for what."

As for now, the Base is responsible for the materials. The barrels have been removed and someone was sent to clean up the area, though they don't believe anyone is in danger from the substance.

It still is not clear as to what was in those containers. The base commander has ordered an investigation to figure out how the drums ended up where they were found.

posted by karen.collier@walb.com