A leaking valve on a tanker truck was blamed for the spilling of 5,000 gallons of sulfuric acid onto Interstate 24 on Monday evening. Officials reported that a Palm Freight truck from LaVergne was traveling along the interstate when the valve began leaking, thus causing the flammable, caustic chemical to spill along the highway. The driver had picked up the load of acid in Clarksville Monday evening, but did not notice it was leaking until he was in Nashville. He then pulled off on the James Robertson Parkway exit ramp, and in attempting to stop the leak, suffered burns to his arms and eyes. He, as well as another motorist driving behind the tanker, were transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) was called and sent a specially trained hazardous materials cleanup company to assist in the cleanup, as well as sending a Hazmat crew. According to authorities, they believe the spill to be contained within a half mile from where the driver stopped the tanker. Although the sulfuric acid reportedly ran off into some water drains, Metro Water Services officials said they do not believe there is any danger to the water supply. After Hazmat crews replaced contaminated soil along the highway with new soil, the fire department deemed the area safe, and the ramp was reopened early Thursday morning.
Clarksville police spokesperson Jim Knoll said that after a motorist reported seeing a substance leaking from the tanker truck, a portion of the Clarksville roadway was closed on Monday evening as crews worked to clean up that roadway. Other stretches of roadways closed for cleanup included Cumberland Drive and Zinc Plant Road Bridge. Motorists driving through any of these areas Monday evening are encouraged to check the tires on their vehicles for any damage. Drivers can call Palm Freight Systems for more information if they are concerned about damage to their vehicles.