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300-Gallon Chemical Spill in Flagler Beach Closes A1A From South 5th to North 4th

| April 21, 2016

sulfuric acid spill

The drum containing the sulfuric acid fell off a truck and cracked, spilling its contents. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 8:23 p.m. p.m.

A truck carrying diluted sulfuric acid spilled some 300 gallons of the liquid at the intersection of State Road 100 and State Road A1A in Flagler Beach earlier this morning.

The spill soaked into the dunes on the east side of A1A, but caused no injuries. But because of the hazardous nature of the liquid, authorities closed A1A to traffic between North 4th Street and South 5th Street, Flagler Beach City Manager Larry Newsom said. The closure zone also includes side streets to Central Avenue.

Flagler County Fire Chief Don Petito said some 300 gallons spilled. The sulfuric acid was diluted by 50 percent. “It’s an inhalation hazard and it’s corrosive, so you can imagine what it can do to you,” Petito said, likening the liquid to what’s found in vehicle batteries. “It’ll destroy any vegetation that it comes in contact with.”

The company hauling the chemical is Dumont Chemical Company of Apopka. The truck was hauling several drums, only one of which fell and spilled. “I would prefer to see something that’s actually in writing that identifies what they’re hauling,” Newsom said.

An aerial view of the spill photographed by Flagler County Fire Flight (see below) shows the spill extending along the east side shoulder of A1A some 20 to 30 yards, and into the vegetation. “This did impact about three feet of the roadway,” Flagler County Public Safety Emergency Manager Steve Garten said in a county-issued release.

Several local and state agencies have been alerted and many of them are at the scene, including the Flagler Beach Fire Department, Flagler County Emergency Management, Flagler County Fire Rescue, the Flagler Beach Police Department, Flagler Beach Fire Police, Palm Coast Fire Police, as well as the St. Johns County Fire Rescue Hazmat team.

“They’ve since gone in with their chemical suits and biocarbonate and they’re attempting to neutralize the spill at this point,” Bobby Pace, the Flagler Beach Fire Department captain (and chief), said from the scene at 12:20 p.m. An additional clean-up company was awaited, along with an additional 250 pounds of bicarbonate. The Department of Environmental Protection’s officials from Jacksonville are also expected. They would then “evaluate the spill and give the all clear,” Pace said.

excavation flagler beach

The excavation of contaminated sands was ongoing this evening. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Most businesses are carrying on, including Finn’s, the restaurant at the corner of A1A and State Road 100, albeit at a slow pace near the “hot zone,” Pace said, but a block away in either direction business activity is near normal, there is activity on the pier, and people are flying their kites from the beach. The beach itself was briefly shut down close to the hot zone, but has since been reopened, with cautions to beach-goers to stay away from the road in that area.

Pace said that the zone would remain closed to traffic for “at least a couple more hours,” pushing that closure at least to 2:30 p.m.

At 2:40 p.m., as roads remained closed, the county issued an update stating that Hazmat crews have neutralized the spill and the Department of Environmental Protection has approved a contractor to commence mop-up procedures.

“That crew should be here in about 30 minutes,” Garten said shortly before 2 p.m. “Once clean-up has been completed the scene will be turned over to the Department of Transportation, which will determine whether the integrity of A1A has been compromised before reopening it. We don’t know how long all of that will take.”

Flagler Beach Police Captain Matt Doughney said the situation remains under investigation, but charges against the driver are pending.

Just after 5 p.m., roads reopened partially, with full lanes set to open later this evening, Pace said. SWS Environmental Services, a contractor for the Dumont Chemical Company responsible for the spill, was brought in to excavate neutralized sand along the roadway. (See the image above.) The shoulder will be filled with replacement sand when the excavation is complete, a county release noted this evening. TME Enterprises, a contractor for the Department of Transportation, will given final approval of the full opening of State Road A1A.

[This is a developing story. More soon.]

chemical spill

A view of the spill taken by Flagler County Fire Flight. Click on the image for larger view.

chemical spill

The heart bof Flagler Beach was closed to traffic from South 4th to North 4th after the spill, which took place at 9:38 a.m. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

st johns county hazmat

St. Johns County’s Hazmat team responded. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

chemical spill drum

The drum. (© FlaglerLive)

chemical drums

The truck that was carrying the drums. (© FlaglerLive)

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10 Responses for “300-Gallon Chemical Spill in Flagler Beach Closes A1A From South 5th to North 4th”

  1. Jake says:

    At least the road will be sparkly clean

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank God it happened when nobody was walking along there.

  3. Eva Mowry says:

    I am wondering why a company from Apopka was hauling sulfuric acid through our beach town in the first place? Hate to see anything poisonous at our beaches…

  4. Anonymous says:

    They deliver to the local water plants, it’s the distributer for our area.

  5. Eva Mowry says:

    Oh, thank you. Are the water plants along the dunes?

  6. Pool Guy says:

    Thank goodness it wasn’t chlorine and muratic acid used for swimming pools. Those two combined together makes “mustard gas” and will take the oxygen right out of the area it spills on.

  7. Donna Heiss says:

    This is a bit dramatic on the county’s part. We deal with toxic chemicals everyday. (think gasoline) Like anonymous said, be thankful it didn’t fall on a person or a vehicle.

  8. YankeeExPat says:

    The Roadside where the spill occured is compacted Sand; I would think that any Liquid spill would dissipate into the porous Sand in about 2 minutes. Biocarbonate?, maybe if there was a puddle of the corrosive. That Chemical is seeping through the sand on its way to the Ocean. Flagler Beach now has its own little Toxic Site. I wouldn’t want any Kids, or Adults for that manner to be in that area for quite a while to come.

  9. Nancy N. says:

    Eva – there is a water treatment plant up in the Hammock just off of A1A.

  10. Tony Tripi says:

    What I don’t understand is why they were shipping “Sulfuric Acid” in a container with DOT Placard 1796, which is the UN number for “Nitric Acid”? The Placard for Sulfuric Acid should be 1830.

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