Partial highway closure for morning commuters | SierraSun.com
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Partial highway closure for morning commuters

State officials shut down approximately 200 feet of Highway 89 in Tahoe City on Thursday morning while a plastic bottle oozed green fluid onto the roadway.

Approximately 100 feet of two eastbound lanes west of Tahoe City and the two northbound lanes leading away from the Tahoe City Wye were closed for most of the morning. Also, one westbound lane of Highway 28 at was closed due to the suspicous liquid, said North Tahoe Fire District’s Battalion Chief Pat Dillon.

Officials placed orange traffic cones in a wide radius around the splintered jug and its contents, partially closing the roadways until 1:05 p.m., Dillon said. The gallon of liquid, which apparently fell off a vehicle, turned out to be muriatic acid, a substance used to adjust pH levels in swimming pools and spas, according to North Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief Duane Whitelaw. One pint is usually used to treat 10,000 gallons of water, he said.



Personnel from the California Highway Patrol, Placer County Sheriff’s Department, Placer County Public Health and HazMat teams, North Tahoe and North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection Districts, and Caltrans were all on the scene for hours, Whitelaw said, explaining the expense could reach thousands of dollars.

“Please, if you are driving around with pool chemicals or construction material … make sure they are secured,” he said.



For two hours the broken jug and its flourescent-colored contents lay in Highhway 89 until Placer’s Haz Mat team could determine what the chemical was, Whitelaw said. Once the liquid was identified, the CHP called a third-party specialist from Reo to clean up the spill.

Initially the liquid was “off-gassing,” or steaming, causing an unidentified passerby to call the North Tahoe Fire Protection District, according to Dillon.


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