Hazmat crews respond to chemical spill at Rock Island water treatment plant

WQAD 8 | March 24, 2011
By Kristy Mergenthal

ROCK ISLANDó It was just before one o'clock Thursday afternoon when hazmat crews were called to the Rock Island water treatment plant for a chemical spill coming from a tanker truck.

"It's a corrosive agent that the water treatment plant uses, overflow caused spillage out of the building onto driveway behind me" said Rock Island assistant fire chief Jeff Yerkey.

As plant employees evactuated, crews began suiting up, working quickly to stop the leak that had begun eating through concrete.

"They stopped the leak using some earthen berms, dirt, sand and commercial boom equipment. We had it pretty much contained to this facility within a short amount of time" said Yerkey.

The chemical, Hydrofluorosilicic acid is used to add fluoride to the plants water. Although it poses a burn risk to skin, those living nearby were in no immediate danger.

"There's no inhalation hazard at all so no need for us to evacuate the residences."

After several hours crews were able to clean up the leak, allowing operations to return to normal.

"Had to close off area but as far as treatment of water and amount being used by the public, no effect on it at all" said Yerkey.

No word on how much of the chemical actually spilled.