Officials: No lasting effects expected from Friday's chemical spill on M-14
A thousand-gallon spill of a chemical called “Glo-Quench” on M-14 at Barton Drive in Ann Arbor Township after a truck carrying a shipping container full of the substance rolled over Friday morning has been contained and the full cleanup is expected to be done by Wednesday.
Ypsilanti Township Fire Marshal Vic Chevrette, who also heads the Washtenaw County Hazardous Materials team, said Monday the truck was carrying 18 plastic containers of the chemical, each containing 250 gallons. Four of those containers ruptured, spilling their contents onto the ground and causing the freeway to be closed much of Friday.
Chevrette said two dump trucks of sand were used to dike the area, but the chemical — which is considered a chronic aquatic hazard and is irritable to human eyes — never made it into any waterways or came near homes. Cleanup crews are now just waiting for the go-ahead from MISS DIG to remove the remaining affected dirt from the area, he said.
“All they have to do is clean up the dirt,” he said.
Gloquench, scientifically known as benzene dicarboxylic acid, is designated as a mild hazardous material with a pH of 3, said Chevrette. It’s used in the processing of textile, leather and paper processing, he said.
The remaining plastic containers were removed with the help of a specialized vacuum truck, which sucked up all the acid to safely transport it, Chevrette said. When full, each container weighed approximately 3,000 pounds, he said.
The trucking firm is expected to pay for the cleanup, Chevrette said.
The investigation into the accident continues, according to Michigan State Police Sgt. Mark Thompson. When reached by email Monday, Thompson said a motor carrier officer investigated the accident on scene and the investigating trooper is now waiting for the report. More information could be available Wednesday.
One person was injured in the accident, which occurred at 7:25 a.m. Friday, Chevrette said. The truck driver was taken by Huron Valley Ambulance to University of Michigan Hospital in stable condition. A worker from the tow truck company was exposed to the chemical on scene, but was decontaminated by hazmat crews and refused medical treatment, Chevrette said.
Once MISS DIG checks the area for underground wires and the proper permits are acquired from the Michigan Department of Transportation, the contaminated soil from the area will be dug out, Chevrette said.
The Washtenaw County hazmat team identified the substance, stabilized the scene and monitored the clean up of the area, Chevrette said. The toughest part of the day was dealing with the high temperatures that suffocated the area Friday afternoon — Chevrette said it reached 114 degrees on the pavement at one point.
He said keeping the Gloquench spill limited was well worth the effort.
“It never came near houses and never got into waterways or drains,” he said.