Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for July 22, 2009
Hazmat spill contained along US-89 in Kane County
At approximately 10 a.m. on July 14, 2009, the Kanab City Fire Department responded to a hazardous materials spill along US Highway 89, near mile marker 99 in Kane County.
A tanker truck registered to Double D Distribution carrying approximately 8700 gallons of conventional paving asphalts had rolled off the road into a streambed along the highway, spilling an unknown amount of hot asphalt into the waterway.
As it arrived on the scene, the Kanab Fire Department HAZMAT Operations Team isolated the spill by building dams and placing temporary barriers across the stream. Soon after, Hazmat technician units arriving from Hildale and Cedar City slowed the flow of asphalt leaking from the cargo trailer. Joint HAZMAT teams then diverted the stream flow around the leaking truck by building a large dam upstream from the wreck and pumping the water around the point of the spill.
Once the spill was contained, additional teams pumped the remaining product from the vehicle, and the truck and trailer were pulled from the ditch.
Randy Taylor, an engineer from the St. George office of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, assessed the spill had been properly contained within a few hundred yards of the accident, with no signs of contamination as little as a half mile downstream.
Kanab and Kane County were supported by a variety of regional and state emergency management organizations, including the Utah Highway Patrol, multiple local fire departments, and most significantly, members of the Southwest Regional Response Team. In total more than 50 emergency responders representing a dozen different agencies assisted in the operation.
Kanab Fire Chief Joe Decker praised the excellent interagency cooperation and advance planning between these organizations as the major factor in quickly and effectively controlling this spill and preventing contamination downstream of the incident.
The product in the tanker truck is known as PG58-28 heavy asphalt tar. Its main hazard is the temperature at which it is transported, 315 degrees. It can also release hydrogen sulfide gas, causing irritation to soft tissues. Severe exposure can even cause respiratory failure and death.
The driver of the Double D Distribution truck was transported to Kane County Hospital with injuries, where he was stabilized before transport to Dixie Regional Medical Center by ambulance.