Green liq­uid prompts Haz­Mat re­sponse

Fire Depar­ment of­fi­cials say ma­te­rial was ‘mildly toxic’

The Signal - - Front page - By Jim Holt Sig­nal Se­nior Staff Writer

Fire­fight­ers spe­cially trained in deal­ing with haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als spent their Thurs­day morn­ing deal­ing with a “mod­er­ately toxic” soapy green liq­uid that got into the storm drains on Creek­side Road.

Shortly be­fore 8:15 a.m., mem­bers of the Health Haz­Mat unit of the Los An­ge­les County Fire De­part­ment de­scended on the back­lot of a car wash on Creek­side, just east of McBean Park­way.

Work­ers try­ing to rinse out a 55-gal­lon drum re­leased a dry chem­i­cal called a sur­fac­tant with the force of wa­ter used, said Haz­Mat Spe­cial­ist Don El­lis.

“They were go­ing to use the drum for some other pur­pose,” he said.

The sub­se­quent “green liq­uid” was seen run­ning into the storm drain, ac­cord­ing to one Fire De­part­ment spokesman and one wit­ness.

El­lis said: “They didn’t han­dle it right be­cause the wa­ter re­hy­drated the dry sub­stance.”

El­lis de­scribed the chem­i­cal as “mildly toxic” while a Fire De­part­ment spokesman de­scribed it as “mod­er­ately toxic.”

El­lis said he is not sure how much of the soapy chem­i­cal got into the storm drain, not­ing, “We re­cov­ered as much as we could.”

Haz­Mat crew mem­bers, who suited up in their fa­mil­iar pro­tec­tive cloth­ing, cleared from the scene at 12:30 p.m., after about four hours, El­lis said.

Join­ing them for some of the cleanup were city en­vi­ron­men­tal work­ers.

“Our En­vi­ron­men­tal Field Spe­cial­ists Jonathan

Mar­tinez and Jeff Adams were con­tacted to as­sist,” city

spokes­woman Mayumi Miyasato said Thurs­day.

“City staff did prop­erly clean it up and used a vac­tor (a type of vac­uum cleaner) truck to re­move any par­ti­cles that were

near the catch basin,” she said.

Although some of the liq­uid en­tered the catch basin, none of it made its way into the Santa Clara River wa­ter­shed, said Laura Jar­dine, iden­ti­fied as the city’s project tech­ni­cian in En­vi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices.

“A lit­tle bit of wa­ter did make its way into the (catch) basin,” she said.

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