A tanker truck carrying a chemical irritant spilled nearly 1,000 pounds of the product on a Salt Lake road Thursday afternoon.
Fire department officials said a Thatcher Chemical truck was traveling east on California Avenue carrying ferric chloride, an irritant used to change the polarity in bacteria for filtration purposes in drinking water. Noticing a dark brown substance "spilling out" of the truck, several motorists called 911 from their cellular phones, said Lt. Devin Villa of the Salt Lake City Fire Department.The spill occurred about 5 p.m. at 2100 W. California Ave., near the I-215 freeway entrance. The product covered the eastbound lanes - which are about 24 feet wide - for nearly 150 yards, Villa said.
Salt Lake City Fire Department responded with 14 firefighters, a hazardous materials team and two pumping engines, Villa said. The Utah Department of Transportation also dispatched an incident management team to monitor the cleanup.
Eastbound traffic lanes, from 2200 W. California Ave. to the freeway, were closed from about 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. as Thatcher Chemical teams worked to spread an absorbent on the spill site. The incident occurred in an industrial area, and no evacuations were necessary, Villa said.
The cause of the is still under investigation. But, Villa said he was "confident the spill has been contained, with minimal exposure to the public."
"The product itself is fairly minor, but the impact with regard to traffic control and area cleanup makes it fairly substantial," Villa said.
Motorists who may have driven through the chemical are advised to use "copious amounts of water" when washing it off their cars. The substance is described as a dark brown liquid, with a slight muddy smell. People may also contact Thatcher Chemical for advice or to have their cars washed.