HUERFANO- Colorado Hazmat specialists were called from Colorado City to mile marker 50 on Sunday, October 31. A tractor trailer hauling solid radioactive waste had been reported as leaking some type of liquid that was spilling onto the highway and vehicles traveling on I-25.
Huerfano County sheriff’s deputies were called to assist in locating the truck. Deputy Joe Albano spotted the truck and stopped it at milepost exit 50 leading into Walsenburg. The truck was isolated and a 2000 foot radius safety perimeter was set up by police and fire personnel.
The drivers of the truck, operated by Cast Specialties based in New Mexico, told officers they were hauling radioactive waste to a dump site in New Mexico, but the material was secured in 55 gallon drums, which in turn are placed in a specially lined container for transport. The drivers and company representatives assured everyone that the transport system provides a leak proof containment.
Colorado State Hazmat personnel arrived shortly after noon, suited up, and examined the leakage with test equipment. Personnel found no radioactivity leakage or hazardous material in the liquid. It appears the leakage was some type of water based condensation. They concluded there was no threat or breach of the radioactive cargo and released the truck at the scene.
The Hazmat team noted that trucks carrying radioactive and other hazardous materials frequently travel along I-25 to various dump and storage sites. The Department of Transportation has very stringent rules for this carriage. This situation provided an opportunity for Huerfano County emergency personnel and CSP officers to have an exercise in hazardous materials response. The outcome of this incident showed a rating of very good for community protection.