Sulfuric acid spill closes Houston area road for 16 hours

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Wednesday, September 04, 2013

A collision between a pickup and a tanker truck transporting aluminum sulfate forced a 16-hour shutdown of a highway in a rural area northwest of Houston.

The crash occurred Tuesday, Sept.3, at approximately 9:15 p.m. at Highway 290 and Mueschke Road, when a westbound pickup driven by 46-year-old Michael Morrow, failed to maintain a single travel lane and struck the semi, according to a release from the Harris County Constable District 4. The impact of the collision caused the semi to overturn, spilling diesel and aluminum sulfate, more commonly known as sulfuric acid.

Morrow, the pickup driver, was arrested and charged with suspicion of driving while intoxicated. He was transported to the Harris County Jail, where he is being held pending a $500 bond.

Mark Herman, assistant chief with the constable district, said the cleanup took approximately 16 hours and involved hazardous materials crews from the Texas Department of Transportation.

No injuries were reported in the crash. The entire westbound and eastbound lanes of Highway 290 were closed.

Karen Othon, a spokeswoman with the state DOT said the sulfuric acid can cause skin burns and be harmful if inhaled. She said a second tanker truck was brought in to offload the remaining chemicals out of the wrecked truck’s tank, while crews worked to clean up the spill on the highway. She said there were no reported instances of contamination as of Wednesday morning.

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