Hazmat unit responds to pesticide spill in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Fire crews spent Friday cleaning up a chemical spill in a residential neighborhood that happened in the morning. 

The Columbia Fire Department responded to Sibley Court after a passerby reported a truck leaking chemicals onto the road.

Columbia Fire Captain Lisa Todd said the witness saw a TruGreen truck spill a green liquid from a hose.

A total 10 units from the Columbia Fire Department, Boone County Fire Protection District, and University Hospital Ambulance Service helped clean up the spill. The Columbia Fire Department also dispatched a hazardous materials, or hazmat, unit, due to the nature of the spill. 

Todd said about 25 gallons of the solution spilled into the yard. Authorities at the scene said there was only 12 liters of a concentrated pesticide within the 25 gallons of solution. 

Workers were able to isolate the spread of the chemical to a single storm drain. Authorities kept the chemical contained inside the storm drain while private companies were contacted in case the drain needed to be washed out.

After contacting the chemical manufacturer and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Columbia Fire Department determined it safe to use only water to flush the chemical out of the storm drain into a nearby creek.

"This chemical is not known to be hazardous to humans," Todd said. "In the quantities it is, and as diluted as it is, this poses no danger to humans," Todd said.

DNR representatives and the chemical manufacturer said the chemical would not harm wildlife in the area after the storm drain was flushed with water.

Cassi Diya lives in the home closest to the storm drain and creek the chemical spilled into. She said she wasn't even aware of the spill until later in the day. She said she was afraid the chemical may harm her two pet cats, but otherwise was not concerned. 

Richard Carter, who lives up the street from the spill, said he was kept well informed about the situation and also had little concern since the chemical was already being cleaned up. 

Authorities had the situation under control and clean up had begun within two hours of the spill. 

Todd said that TruGreen would be responsible for the cost of the clean up effort, not residents.