Williamsburg, Kentucky, reopened its city water intake from the Cumberland River Tuesday, shut off as a precaution after an overturned semi spilled butyl acrylate upstream a day earlier.
A tanker trailer carrying 5,000 gallons of the hazardous material went off a highway bridge Monday morning, crashing down onto a railroad line below. Almost 700 gallons spilled into a ditch leading to a tributary of the Cumberland River, a Facebook post by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet states.
Butyl acrylate is flammable and toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Used in coatings, adhesives, fuel, textiles and plastics, it is highly reactive to heat. Long term health risks associated with the chemical include liver cancer.
Although no waterway was affected by the spill, the intake for Williamburg Water, located about 10 miles downstream, was temporarily shut off. Drinking water remained available to the city throughout the emergency but residents were advised to conserve.
Emergency officials also ordered homes near the wreck be evacuated until equipment needed to offload the tanker could arrive from Indianapolis, the EEC reports. Further complicating operations, the wreck left the tanker positioned upside down and hanging off the bridge.
The highway and railroad line remained closed until the contents were safely removed Monday evening.
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