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Haz-Mat Crew Called To Another Quick Lime Spill In Summit County

Summit County Health Department Photo

Thursday morning, about a hundred pounds of a white powder was reported spread around an I-80 rest stop at Mile Marker 165 west bound, near Echo. Officials don’t know who is responsible for the spill but think it was an accident. The Haz Mat Team from the Park City Fire District was called in and they determined it was quick lime.

A reminder that about 20,000 pounds of quick lime spilled on Bitner Road in Summit County in February. Deputy Health Director for Summit County, Phil Bondurant says this spill is minor in comparison. It’s about a hundred feet long about six to eight feet wide and no more than two inches deep.

“We don’t have any significant weather forecast as we did with the Bitner, with the snow. So the rain won’t spread it around and that fact that we can shut down the turn-off entirely and keep traffic out of here 100 percent, that’s going to expedite the process and make it a lot easier and a lot cleaner, clean up.”

Bondurant thinks it will take a couple of days to clean the area. He says in the event there is rain, they’ve got sandbags and absorbent materials around the spill to keep the lime out of Echo Reservoir.

“Unless it gets wet, the material is fairly inert. The only health risk associated with quick lime are just inhalation or scratchiness in the throat, redness of the eyes, some trouble breathing. So, it doesn’t present any real environmental threat or health threat.”

Bondurant says, once wet, its harder to clean-up. Moisture causes the off gassing of the lime and the clean up crew could have the respiratory problems mentioned.

“Powdery substance, when it gets wet, it follows the least path of resistance and it increases the size f the clean up area. Water will definitely spread that as we saw with Bitner Ranch road.”

Bondurant says the area falls under federal jurisdiction, so the responsibility and cost of clean-up falls on UDOT.

“Yeah, what they will do is clean it off using a large vacuum truck. That vacuum truck will then take that to the landfill in Toole. Also, what can be done, the PH can be neutralized using muriatic acid.”

Once the clean-up is done, UDOT and the Summit County Health Department will meet on site and get a notice of completion.    

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