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Semi spills chemicals in Glenwood Springs

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” An 18-wheeler tipped on Red Mountain Trail Friday afternoon and spilled a chemical that’s used to treat drinking water.

Glenwood Springs Fire Department Capt. Gary Tillotson said the semitrailer, owned by a private delivery company, was hauling chemicals up to the water treatment plant off Red Mountain Drive when the vehicle failed to navigate a switchback.

The trailer tipped onto its side and remained mostly intact, he said, but it leaked probably 10 gallons or less of a chemical called polyaluminum chloride, which is used to treat drinking water.



“It’s a corrosive liquid and therefore also somewhat poisonous in concentrated form,” he said, adding it can become an inhalation hazard under certain conditions.

Polyaluminum chloride solutions are often used as coagulants in water treatment plants. The call about the tipped semitrailer reportedly went out around 2:45 p.m. The accident was within a quarter mile of the water treatment plant.



Tillotson said officials were getting close to engaging reverse 911 calls to evacuate nearby residents, but authorities were able to stop the leak around 3:45 p.m. After stopping the leak, Tillotson said, authorities decided to pump the liquid product out of the semitrailer before uprighting it to minimize risk of further leakage or spills.

“We feel the risk is minimal at this point,” he said early Friday evening. “The tank’s integrity has not been compromised very significantly and we’re taking the safest action path at this point of off-loading the product before uprighting the truck.”

Tillotson said the leaked chemicals could harm vegetation in a very small area of probably less than 100 square feet.

He said the driver of the semitrailer was treated for minor injuries and released from Valley View Hospital. No decision had been made early Friday evening about whether the driver would be cited for a traffic violation.

The Glenwood Springs Fire Department, Rifle Fire Department, Colorado State Patrol Hazardous Materials Unit and Garfield County Sheriff’s Office all responded to the scene, and the Carbondale Fire Department helped handle other calls.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

pfowler@postindependent.com


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