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Chemical spill 'contained'

A tractor-trailer carrying hazardous chemicals overturned at U.S. 21 and S.C. 5 Thursday near Lesslie, prompting officials to reroute traffic all day.
A tractor-trailer carrying hazardous chemicals overturned at U.S. 21 and S.C. 5 Thursday near Lesslie, prompting officials to reroute traffic all day.

A tractor-trailer overturned Thursday spilling phosphoric acid onto a York County road near Lesslie.

No one was hurt, and traffic was rerouted throughout Thursday until the spill was cleaned up in the early evening, said Cotton Howell, director of the York County Office of Emergency Management.

The truck carried about 35,000 pounds of the chemical that is harmful if it touches the skin or eyes or is ingested or inhaled, officials said.

Around 8 a.m., Robert Lloyd Dover, 36, of Sharon was attempting to merge a 1996 truck onto U.S. 21 from S.C. 5 near Lesslie, said Cpl. Bryan McDougald of the S.C. Highway Patrol.

"As he entered the ramp, he attempted to change lanes while driving too fast," McDougald said. "The load on the truck shifted, causing the truck to overturn into the roadway."

Dover was charged with driving too fast for conditions, McDougald said.

The truck was carrying 10 containers of the chemical from Rock Hill's Chemsolv to Coatex in Chester, Howell said. The containers held 330 gallons each. Delivery was slated for 9 a.m.

Nearly 150 gallons of the chemical leaked out onto the road, Howell said.

One container lost about half its contents, while others had some minor leakage, Howell said. Chemicals ran into a ditch, and workers covered it with dirt to contain the spill.

"We contained it," Howell said. "We controlled it, and it didn't create an environmental hazard."

The leak also prompted officials to reroute motorists, Howard said.

At one point during the clean-up at least 56 emergency workers, many in protective clothing, manned the scene, officials said.

One person from the Charlotte hazardous material clean-up crew was taken to Piedmont Medical Center because of chest pains, Howell said.

During the day, the chemical was pumped out of containers and put in replacement containers so it could be returned to Chemsolv, Howell said.

By 5:08 p.m., all containers were removed and the truck was turned upright, officials said.

Clean-up efforts were expected to be completed by 6:30 p.m.

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