IOWA CITY – A truck accident on eastbound Interstate 80, a mile east of Exit 246 late Wednesday morning caused an estimated 200 gallons of herbicide to leak into the adjoining ditch; closing eastbound lanes for four or more hours.
The Iowa City Fire Department acted quickly, building earthen dams and placing absorbent pads–to contain the product–Roundup Weather Max. About 50 gallons of the herbicide was recovered by Johnson County Hazardous Materials response team members. Sand was placed over the confined spill area to absorb and bind the herbicide until a full cleanup can be undertaken.
The accident occurred at 10:30 a.m. The driver, operating in a construction zone, just east of the Highway 1/Dodge Street interchange, appeared to slip off the pavement, laying the Bork Transport tanker/trailer down on the passenger side. The driver was transported to an Iowa City hospital for treatment. His condition is not known.
Crews worked to contain the leak and to stem the flow of herbicide from a break near a temperature gauge, about midway down the tanker. The unit had to be raised off its side by a heavy-duty wrecker, to be hauled out of the accident scene. Eastbound I-80 traffic had to be rerouted through the northeast side of Iowa City.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will continue monitoring the spill and clean up until the contaminated material can be removed.
A second accident occurred in the eastbound lane, near the spill scene. Traffic was not affected for long.
Working the accident and recovery were the Iowa City Fire Department, West Branch Fire Department, Johnson County Haz-Mat team, Iowa City Police, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa DOT and Iowa DNR.