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THP: Driver of truck that spilled 40K gallons of copper sulfate on I-75 fell asleep

TDOT said a tractor-trailer carrying thousands of gallons of copper sulfate jack-knifed on I-75.

UPDATE Friday 11:00 a.m.: The driver of a tractor trailer that crashed on I-75S in Campbell County on Thursday, spilling 40,000 pounds of copper sulfate and creating traffic issues throughout the day, thinks he fell asleep at the wheel.

According to the crash report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Joseph Ryan Kennedy, 43, of Madison, was driving south on I-75 near Caryville when he failed to make a left hand curve and ran off the interstate.

The truck ran up the side of an embankment and rolled over. It landed on the driver side and began to slide before hitting a rock face and rolling upright again, then sliding again and rolling over on its passenger side. That motion caused the tanker to rupture then split in two, causing the spill.

Kennedy was transported to UT Medical Center where he was treated for minor injuries. The crash report indicates he will be charged for failure to use due care and not wearing a seat belt.

UPDATE Friday 8:00 a.m.: TDOT said all lanes on I-75 south in Campbell County are open again after crews finished cleanup on a copper sulfate spill following a wreck Thursday.

TDOT said crews might need to return to evaluate if further work was needed, but it later said the main cleanup work was finished.

UPDATE 6:30 p.m. TDOT said it has once again closed one right lane of I-75 south so Hazmat crews can clean up copper sulfate after a crash early Thursday morning.

The lane will likely remain closed through at least Friday morning.

Hazardous material crews have been on the scene most of the day, working to clean up the spill. The had reopened lanes for a few hours to let traffic clear.

UPDATE 3 p.m. All lanes of I-75 are temporarily opened at the site of a copper sulfate spill, but one lane will close later to complete the cleanup.

The accident happened Thursday morning in the southbound lanes of I-75, just north of Caryville in Campbell County.

Hazardous material crews have been on the scene most of the day, working to clean up the spill. One lane has been closed during that time.

Now, drivers will get a brief reprieve as environmental cleanup crews get their equipment in place to continue their efforts.

TDOT has opened that closed lane temporarily. It will be closed again between 4 and 4:30 p.m. and will likely remain closed through at least Friday morning.

Original story

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Tenn. - Hazmat crews are responding to a copper sulfate spill on Interstate 75 after a tractor-trailer jack-knifed on the southbound side.

According to Mark Nagi with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the truck crashed and spilled approximately 4,500 gallons of the substance just north of Caryville.

The driver of the truck was hurt and outside the truck when crews arrived according to authorities, but they said his injuries didn't appear to be life-threatening and he was taken to an area hospital.

One lane will remain closed on the southbound side until at least Friday evening according to TDOT, and traffic is expected to be slow moving through the area until the wreck and chemical spill is cleaned up.

It's unknown at the moment what the immediate environmental impact of the spill is. Copper sulfate is an inorganic compound used in a number of applications, particularly as a pesticide and anti-fungal agent for agriculture.

According to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) which outlines workplace chemicals and their hazards, copper sulfate typically is a crystal/power that can cause irritation to the skin and the upper respiration tract if inhaled, and is toxic if ingested. It is not identified as a carcinogenic substance.

However, the MSDS and fire officials currently working on the hazmat cleanup say it can pose serious environmental hazards and a threat to the public if the substance gets saturated and seeps into public water systems through storm runoff. The substance is also toxic to fish and aquatic plants if it were to enter a body of water.