Lack of Hazardous Material Experts Delay Traffic on I-10

Environmental clean-up crews loaded the last of the stuff contaminated by the chemical spill. The leak came from a 330 gallon container inside the trailer of an 18-wheeler.

Richard Pate, Hancock County Fire Marshall told WLOX that a seam had split on a container in the truck.  That is what caused the leaking. The truck driver noticed a cloud coming out the back of his truck and pulled in at the weigh station.

Clean up crews had to neutralized everything the acid touched including the truck trailer, the ground, and other containers. While that was being done traffic was being re-routed around the area. "We had everything pretty well contained in a short amount of time. It's just waiting for the experts to come in and do the clean-up. That's your biggest wait," said Richard Pate. Pate says most of those experts had to come from Louisiana , Alabama or Jackson, because there's no South Mississippi crew trained to clean up and dispose of hazardous chemicals.

"I think if we had one in Mississippi in this South End around the I-10 corridor it would speed up the process," he told WLOX. But Pate and other officials know that's easier said then done.

There are several small hazmat teams in Hancock County. Chief Bobby Gavagnie with the Bay St. Louis Fire Deptartment said the Bay St. Louis fire department is equipped to handle most chemical spills, but the clean-up should be left to the clean-up crews permeated and trained to do so. The Fire Chiefs Association is in the process of trying to start a larger Coast wide Hazmat team. Even still they say major clean-up operations will likely be left to private companies specially trained to do the work.