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Hazmat crews clean up pool-cleaning chemical spill on SR-76

Pool-cleaning chemicals in the back of a pickup spilled when the truck was involved in a three-vehicle crash in the Bonsall area Sunday morning, prompting a hazmat cleanup, officials said.

The crash happened around 9:30 a.m. on state Route 76 at the intersection of North River Road, said North County Fire Protection District Capt. John Choi.

A Chevrolet Astro van rear-ended a Ford F-150 truck that was carrying one gallon of muriatic acid and one gallon of hydrochloric acid, Choi said. The truck was sandwiched between the Astro and another vehicle in front, he said.

The chemicals that spilled are corrosive and can burn the skin and eyes. If inhaled, they can inflame the eyes, nose and throat.

“No one was in danger of dying, but it’s something we have to mitigate properly,” Choi said.

The two acids did not mix during the spill, which was “the best-case scenario,” he said. The chemicals also did not contaminate waterways.

The county and San Diego Fire-Rescue deployed hazmat teams. They used sodium bicarbonate ash to neutralize the acids, then collected the materials into leak-proof barrels, according to Choi. The waste was taken to Caltrans for correct disposal. The cleanup was done by noon.

Nobody was injured by the chemicals, Choi said. The car crash caused minor injuries to three adults; one was taken to a hospital while the other two declined medical care, he said.

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