Chemical spill causes traffic delays, strong odor

Thursday, October 2, 2008 | 3:08 p.m. CDT; updated 10:13 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 2, 2008

COLUMBIA - Southbound traffic on Providence Road slowed to a halt Thursday afternoon when a flatbed truck spilled more than 15 gallons of concrete sealer.

A Nu-Way Concrete Forms truck was transporting 76 five-gallon buckets of concrete sealer when its driver slammed on the brakes after the vehicle in front of him came to a sudden stop, said Division Chief Dean Martin of the Columbia Fire Department.  

When the truck's load shifted, at least three buckets fell onto Providence Road at the Mick Deaver Drive intersection near Memorial Stadium. About 12 additional buckets were damaged and began leaking, Martin said.

"The chemical poses a slight hazard when spilled indoors because of the strong chemical smell," Martin said. "It can be slightly flammable but in this situation it presented no hazards."

The Columbia Fire Department received a call about the spill at 12:03 p.m. Personnel from the Missouri Department of Transportation, Columbia Police Department, MU Environmental Health and Safety and MU Police Department assisted firefighters with the cleanup and traffic control.

Both southbound lanes of Providence were closed for nearly an hour, from Carrie Frankie Drive to Mick Deaver Drive. The right southbound lane remained closed for an additional hour.

Nu-Way Concrete Forms sent workers to help transfer the sealer from the damaged buckets into other barrels.

The Fire Department called Chemtrec, a hazardous materials communication center, to determine how to proceed in the cleanup. Sand was poured on top of the spill areas to absorb the slick sealer.

Martin said the transportation department was monitoring the road conditions but vehicles shouldn't have problems passing over the sand and sealer mixture.

Martin said he expected that the clumps of mixture would be removed from the road by Thursday evening. Nu-Way will be responsible for disposing of the material.

"It's not just something that can be thrown in a dumpster."


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