Beaufort News

Chemical spill closes part of U.S. 278 in Hardeeville

Fire crews needed nearly three hours Monday to clean up a chemical spill that closed eastbound lanes U.S. 278 near the Tradition Hilton Head community, according to Hardeeville Fire Chief Dan Morgan.

Morgan said 21, one-gallon bottles of muriatic acid likely fell from a passing vehicle onto the road at about 7:30 a.m. Several bottles broke open, releasing a white vapor. The vehicle did not stop, and fire crews were unable to identify it, he said.

Muriatic acid is a solution of hydrogen chloride gas often used locally to balance pH in swimming pools and clean masonry work, Morgan said.

The Bluffton/Hilton Head Hazardous Material Team cleared the road, while the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control responded to oversee the cleanup and disposal, he said.

No injuries were reported, Morgan said.

Contents of the bottles that did not break will be recycled, he said.