Tanker truck overturns, spills chemical

NORCROSS - A tanker truck overturned on Jones Mill Road Tuesday morning, spilling 100 gallons of aluminum sulfate and prompting authorities to close down the road for most of the day.

Firefighters said the driver of the tanker truck was making a left turn from Jones Mill Road onto the bridge over Ga. Highway 141 at 9:04 a.m. when the vehicle overturned. About 100 of the 4,500 gallons of aluminum sulfate being hauled by the tanker truck leaked out onto the roadway from the tanker's seams, which ruptured and caused a slow leak.

Aluminum sulfate is a mild corrosive, said Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department. It can be hazardous if inhaled and is a skin irritant. The compound is used for water treatment, he said. HAZMAT authorities described the liquid as a clear, heavy, oil-based liquid, according to Rutledge.

A few gallons of aluminum sulfate leaked into a nearby storm drain. However, firefighters and Gwinnett County Department of Transportation workers were able to contain the runoff using dirt to build a dike and divert the liquid. Rutledge said the leak did not pose an environmental hazard.

Authorities kept Jones Mill Road closed at the bridge for approximately six hours while working to clean up the spill and waiting for another tanker to offload the cargo. Police re-opened the road at 4:30 p.m.

No one was injured in the incident, and no evacuations were necessary, Rutledge said.