Truck spills acid near St.

A flat bed truck spilled an estimated 30 gallons of sulfuric acid on Cleveland Avenue next to the St. Paul campus late Thursday morning.
The spill occurred along a high traffic area in front of Bailey Hall, some area businesses and a crosswalk.
Officials said there was a danger of inhalation or contact with the acid during the incident. After the spill occurred several cars drove through the acid, which could have caused it to spray up and come into contact with bystanders and other cars.
Officials had no immediate reports of injuries.
Symptoms of acid contact include irritations of the mouth and nose and blistering of the skin. Flushing contaminated areas with water will help, but if symptoms continue victims should consult a doctor immediately, officials said.
The acid leaked out of 20 car batteries that fell off the truck and caused the acid to spread over a block and a half, said Dick Kable, the on-scene supervisor for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Members of the agency’s Emergency Response Team spread finely ground limestone over the acid to neutralize the pH levels and clean up the spill.
“Sulfuric acid has a pH of one, and one or less is strong,” Kable said. “We’re trying to get it back to seven, which is neutral.”
Agency officials will investigate why the unidentified trucking company carried the batteries on a flat bed truck instead of an enclosed box truck. He added that most of the spills he responds to occur in box trucks.
Officials also expressed concern about how the driver handled the incident.
“It appears the truck left the scene without reporting it,” said Kathy Carlson, information officer at the pollution control agency. She said drivers have a “duty to notify” hazardous spills immediately.
Ibrahim Issa, manager of Lori’s Coffee House on Cleveland Avenue, said the truck accidentally dumped its load around 11 a.m., but because the driver didn’t call anyone, the agency team didn’t arrive until 1:30 p.m.
He said a local patron called the agency from his store. Carlson confirmed and said an anonymous person called the agency, not the driver.
The driver allegedly stopped for about a half-hour to secure his load, but then left the scene, Issa said.
Issa claims the spill caused him to lose customer business.
“I lost not less than $1,000,” Issa said. He is going to file a claim with the city and expects to be reimbursed.
Members of the University’s Department of Emergency Management were on the scene but said because the spill was off University property, all they could do was assist the cleanup. Officials expected the operation to finish at 5:30 p.m.