On Nov. 12, 2003, a tanker truck crashed on Interstate 71 six miles north of Carrollton, KY, causing a leak of hydrochloric acid (HCL). The accident occurred around 0630 hrs., causing the shutdown of a 13-mile stretch of I-71, which remained closed for over 14 hours. Three troopers investigating the crash reportedly suffered minor skin and throat irritations from exposure to HCL and were monitored throughout the day for more serious injuries.
OSC Smith and the Region 4 Superfund Technical Assistance and Response Team (START) arrived onsite around 1200 hrs. START conducted air monitoring for acid vapors and provided this information for purposes of establishing a safe perimeter for cleanup and salvage crews, who were hired by Liquid Transport, Inc. (the product carrier).
Inspection of the shipping papers confirmed that the tanker contained over 4,700 gallons of HCL. Further evaluation of the tanker showed that a small leak was present, which could not be plugged. A representative from KYDEP and START conducted an inspection of a nearby surface water stream, and concluded that there was no offiste migration of contaminants from the wreck site.
The decision was made to upright the tanker while fully loaded, as the venting system did not allow for product transfer with the tanker on it's side. START personnel and the Boone County Hazmat Team provided air monitoring in the hot zone and on the perimeter during salvage operations. The tanker was uprighted by 1930 hrs., and EPA and START demobilized the site around 2000 hrs.
Additional information provided by the carrier after the incident indicated that up to 215 gallons of HCL was released to the environment during the incident.