Ammonia spill closes roads

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Friday, June 12, 2009
— A chemical spill closed rural roads southeast of Janesville for about five hours Thursday.

No one was injured.

A farm tractor pulling a trailer with a tank of anhydrous ammonia had moved to the side of Avalon Road to let traffic pass when the trailerís right side dropped onto the shoulder, the Janesville Fire Department reported.

As the tractor moved back onto the road, the trailer tipped onto its side. The tank was damaged and began to leak a white gas that blew to the south and west.

The spill led to closures of County J and Avalon Road starting around 10 a.m.

The Janesville Fire Departmentís hazardous materials team was called in.

A fresh tank was brought in about noon. Firefighters connected the damaged tank to the good one and drained the remaining ammonia from the leaking tank.

About 650 pounds of ammonia had vented from the tank, said Janesville Fire Department Shift Cmdr. Scott Morovits.

The tractor belonged to the DeLong Co. of Clinton, which discussed cleanup with the state Department of Natural Resources, Morovits said.

Anhydrous ammonia is a fertilizer that is injected into the soil. Exposure to the gas can cause burns, lung damage, blindness or death.

In April, an anhydrous ammonia accident led to evacuations of 18 houses near Afton and sent at least eight people to the hospital with burning eyes or breathing difficulties.

Last updated: 10:43 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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