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July 5, 2007
Albany -- A toxic spill closed the 1700 block of South Slappey Boulevard this afternoon and created a scare at businesses.
Employees were told to stay inside as crews spent hours monitoring and cleaning up Temik, a highly toxic pesticide.
A truck was hauling dozens of containers of it when about 20 of them fell off onto the road. One of the 45 pounds containers spilled onto the road. An independent contractor, brought in by Helena Chemical, has to properly contain it. The big concern out here this afternoon was keeping these granuals contained.
Investigators still aren't sure just what caused the truck to spill it's load shortly after it picked up containers of Temik from Helena Chemical's warehouse on South Slappery, but they quickly knew this was going to be a problem.
"It's a very strong farm pesticide," said Lt. Bobby Spargo of the Albany Fire Department.
Three blocks of South Slappey between Lippitt and Oakridge Drives were sealed off and businesses including Albany Technical College were asked to keep people inside.
"Our main concern is that if the wind were to pick up the dust off of it and someone would inhale it okay, or it would actually get on somebody that's the reason we've taken the steps we have to isolate the area," said Spargo.
Haz-Mat crews suited up in their level A suits to inspect the damage and determined just one granular container spilled, and fortunately in a place where it didn't get in the drainage system.
"The actual contact we made with it we use fully encapsulated suits off a Hazmat Truck," said Spargo.
With winds blowing, it was crucial to keep emergency crews responding up wind and out of harms way.
"We stay up wind from it, that's the reason we have you all back here and keep everybody up wind from it," said Spargo.
The truck driver went through decontamination as a precaution. There's no word yet from Police if they intend to charge the driver.
At 4:42PM, WALB recived this statement by e-mail from the Helena Company:
Collierville, TN - A section of South Slappey Boulevard in Albany, Georgia has been closed temporarily due to a small spill of pesticide. A delivery truck operated by Helena Chemical Company lost a single pallet of the pesticide Temik TM at approximately 1:30 p.m., local time.
Several large bottles of the material lost their lids when the pallet hit the ground, causing some material to spill into the road. Albany police and fire crews responded immediately to the scene, closing the road. Albany's fire department mobilized its hazardous materials crew.
Helena Chemical immediately contacted a local, professional emergency response contractor to assist the local authorities. That contractor is due to arrive at the scene shortly. All appropriate and required local state and federal agencies have been notified, including the National Response Center and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The material is a dry granular compound, similar in size to coarse sand, and is stationary. The material has not left the roadway. Temik (TM) is used widely as an agricultural insecticide, on crops such as cotton and pecans.
Ed Brister, Helena Chemical Company's Director of Safety, Health and Engineering said that the company's primary concern is safety. Mr. Brister said "We were really pleased with the quick response from the Albany Fire Department's hazmat team."
Helena Chemical Company is based in Collierville, Tennessee and operates a national distribution network for its products, including several locations in West Tennessee.
Helena Chemical Company offers a variety of crop protection products, agricultural chemicals, seed, fertilizer and related products. Helena Chemical Company will make new information available as it is confirmed.