Chemical spill diverts traffic in Norwich

NORWICH– Hale Street to the Halfway Bridge of Route 12, just south of the City of Norwich, is shut down due to a sizable chemical spill.

“It's going to be closed for several hours. The truck off to the side spilled caustic chemicals all the way down the road. There was a huge spill which has gone into the storm drain,” said Norwich Fire Chief Tracy Chawgo.

Many local businesses affected by this shutdown of Route 12 were concerned about how long the incident would take to clean up and were contemplating closing for the afternoon.

The chemical waste truck was stopped in front of Burger King, heading southbound on Route 12. New York State Police, Norwich Fire Department, Norwich Police Department, DOT, DEC and the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office all responded to the scene.

The incident happened around 1:30 p.m. and the clean-up is still ongoing.

“The car parked in the middle was splashed with some chemicals. Now we are setting up decon, but we’ve got it pretty much contained,” said Chawgo. “Fortunately it's a chemical waste truck so he can help clean up as we do our thing. But we're setting up gross decon, which is basically hosing acid off the vehicle. He has enough room to suck up another 1,000 gallons or so now. Then we're going to do his truck.”

Investigators say one of the top hatches came open and dumped small amounts of the chemical from New Hartford all the way to Norwich. Larger amounts sloshed out and onto a passing car when the truck jerked in Norwich.

“The DEC is on their way up here now to check everything out. DOT and State Police are going to be climbing all over his truck soon to check out what went wrong. I hope it starts pouring rain because it will help us clean it up a lot faster,” said Chawgo.

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