Truck leaks chemical, closing U.S. 50


A 4,000-gallon tanker truck leaked corrosive chloride yesterday, shutting a heavily traveled stretch of U.S. 50 in Lanham near the Capital Beltway as hazardous-materials crews worked to clean up the spill.

The driver of the truck was traveling west on U.S. 50 between Lottsford Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Highway in Prince George's County about 6 p.m. when he noticed the truck leaking ferric chloride, an acidic chemical used for wastewater treatment and etching metal.

The spill triggered a Level 3 alert - the most serious hazmat response - bringing in resources across the county to contain the spill and prevent it from entering nearby streams. A second tanker took the remaining fuel from the damaged one.

U.S. 50 was closed in both directions for more than two hours because of concern that the chemical, which produces toxic gas when exposed to water, would react to a light drizzle.

Prince George's County fire spokesman Chauncey Bowers said the truck, registered to Delaware-based Eaglebrook Inc., leaked at least 100 gallons. The cause was under investigation.

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