Toxic material successfully cleaned from Slappey Blvd. - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Toxic material successfully cleaned from Slappey Blvd.

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July 5, 2007

Albany - - A dangerous chemical spill Thursday afternoon forced police to block off part of one of Albany's busiest roads. Hazardous material crews put on protective suits to check out containers of a toxic pesticide that fell off a truck on Slappey Boulevard. 

Fortunately, traffic is flowing again on Slappey Blvd. It took about seven hours for that to happen. It took over three hours just for crews to get the toxic material out of harm's way. 

When two to three gallons of a dangerous chemical spilled onto South Slappey Boulevard Thursday afternoon, it was very serious business.

"This is a highly toxic agricultural chemical," says Emergency Management Director Jim Vaught.

In fact, it's one of the most hazardous poisons Helena Chemical Company handles. It's a pesticide called Temik. A driver with the company was transporting it to a customer when 20 containers fell onto the road.

Company officials say their vehicles have gates, pins, and metal bars to secure the materials.

"So if it was secured properly it shouldn't have been able to come out?" we asked a representative.

"Right, well yes," Howard Davis replied.

Later, they'll investigate how it happened. First, they had to call in RCL Environmental Company to clean it up.

"We expected it to be a very simple straight forward cleanup. We just expected to sweep it up and contain it," says Scott Coburn of the Department of Natural Resources.

They weren't so lucky.

"These particles have an electric charge to them so they're sticking. It's like if you were to spill a bag of plastic beads on the floor, it just sticks to whatever you touch it with," Coburn says. 

So they swept up what they could. Then they had to apply bleach to the remaining chemicals to detoxify them. Finally, it was all cleaned up and crews spread sand to make it safe for you to drive down Slappey Boulevard.

The spill happened around 1:30 Thursday afternoon. That's when police closed that area of Slappey Blvd.

By six, they re-opened southbound traffic up to Lowe Road. By nine p.m., all of Slappey was re-opened.

Emergency crews say none of the hazardous material got into the drainage system and no one came in contact with it.

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