Thursday, June 30, 2016

Stopping tank corrosion in the transportation sector

Original Story:

Thousands of chemicals, petroleum products, and corrosive elements like salt water brine are transported by tanker truck, railcar and distributors, as well as processed in chemical storage tanks at facilities and refineries, every day.
In these venues, carbon steel corrosion can require early tank replacement and maintenance, as well as pose a safety risk in terms of potential leaks, spills, and even fire and explosion, so effective corrosion protection is a must.

“We clean just about any tank hauling product or waste on the road or rail,” said Joe Svehlak, Facility Manager at DFW Tank Cleaning, a Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas-based full service tank cleaning facility that specialises in chemical cleaning. “Protecting against corrosion is vital in such tanks, as it is in our facility flush tanks.”
According to Svehlak, effective corrosion resistance is essential in the chemical holding tanks because they hold the wastewater from the first flushes of tanks that the company cleans, which can include residual chemicals, until it is treated. This amounts to thousands of different residual chemicals held in the flush tanks annually – from petroleum products and salt-water brine to fluoride, caustic soda, and a variety of acids.

Against such tank corrosion challenges, traditional polymer paints and rubber type coatings have long been used as physical barriers to keep corrosion promoters such as water and oxygen away from steel substrates. This works until the paint is scratched, chipped, or breached and corrosion promoters enter the gap between the substrate and coating.
However, truck or rail tankers hauling waste, including sand and sediment, can be particularly prone to scratches, chips, or breaches. Then the coating can act like a greenhouse – trapping water, oxygen and other corrosion promoters – which allows the corrosion to spread. While stainless steel can be used for tanks to resist corrosion, it can be up to six times more costly than carbon steel, as well as challenging to weld, fabricate, and maintain.

Now a new generation of anti-corrosion coating, called Chemically Bonded Phosphate Ceramics, is poised to stop such corrosion, improve safety, and extend tank life in the transportation industry and beyond while minimising maintenance and downtime.

Rugged anti-corrosion protection

“Our corrosion protection for our 10 000 gal. flush tanks has to be particularly rugged because we mix the wastewater so it does not stratify, and sand, rocks, and even metal shavings can be present from the waste trailers we service,” said Svehlak. “The corrosion protection also has to withstand the high-temperature, high pressure water we often work with.”

To control corrosion, the chemical storage tank cleaning facility chose to have Ennis, Texas-based DC Metal Construction, a privately owned company specialising in steel construction and industrial plant building projects, coat the inside of two flush tanks. The flush tanks were coated with a spray applied inorganic coating called EonCoat® from the Raleigh, NC-based company of the same name. EonCoat represents a new category of tough, Chemically Bonded Phosphate Ceramics (CBPCs) that can stop corrosion.

In contrast to traditional polymer coatings that sit on top of the substrate, the corrosion resistant coating bonds through a chemical reaction with the substrate, and slight surface oxidation actually improves the reaction. An alloy layer is formed. This makes it impossible for corrosion promoters like oxygen and humidity to get behind the coating the way they can with ordinary paints. The corrosion barrier is covered by a ceramic shell that resists corrosion, fire, water, abrasion, chemicals, and temperatures up to 400°F.

Although traditional polymer coatings mechanically bond to substrates that have been extensively prepared, if gouged, moisture and oxygen will migrate under the coating’s film from all sides of the gouge.

By contrast, the same damage to the ceramic-coated substrate will not spread corrosion because the carbon steel’s surface is turned into an alloy of stable oxides. Once the steel’s surface is stable (the way noble metals like gold and silver are stable) it will no longer react with the environment and corrode.

Visible in scanning electron microscope photography, EonCoat does not leave a gap between the steel and the coating because the bond is chemical rather than mechanical. Since there is no gap, even if moisture was to get through to the steel due to a gouge, there is nowhere for the moisture to travel. The only spot that can corrode is the scribe line itself, which eliminates the possibility of the corrosion migrating.

“Unlike traditional methods, the corrosion resistant coatings for mild steel have a double layer of protection,” said Bobby Hobbs, a DC Metal Construction job foreman. “The tough, outside ceramic coating will not chip like paint and takes sandblasting to remove. The chemically bonded layer stops corrosion and will not allow corrosion promoters to spread.”

“EonCoat has stood up really well to everything from chemicals and salty brine to abrasion, high-pressure water and heat,” added Svehlak. “I believe it will double the life of our tanks while significantly lowering maintenance costs and downtime.”

According to Svehlak, the coating’s rugged anti-corrosion properties could also benefit a wide range of transportation-related businesses.
“Tanker truck and rail operations can benefit from the anti-corrosion coating’s reliability,” said Svehlak. “Its abrasion resistance would be a big plus to wastewater haulers or super sucker truck operators with vacuum tanks that may encounter metal chips, glass shards, etc. when cleaning out sumps. It would also resist tank corrosion when transporting petroleum products or even used restaurant waste such as oil, fat, or grease.”

For transportation companies looking to reduce costs, there are additional advantages to CBPC coatings beyond corrosion resistance. This includes quick return to service that minimises equipment downtime, as well as no VOCs or HAPs, and a flame spread rating of zero which improves safety.

For corrosion protection projects using typical polymer paints such as polyurethanes or epoxies, the cure time may be days or weeks before the next coat of traditional ‘three part systems’ can be applied, depending on the product. The cure time is necessary to allow each coat to achieve its full properties, even though it may feel dry to the touch.

In contrast, a corrosion resistant coating for carbon steel utilising the ceramic coating in a single coat requires almost no curing time. Return to service can be achieved in as little as one hour. This kind of speed in getting a tank, tanker truck, or railcar operating again can save significantly in reduced downtime.

“After appropriate tank preparation, we found that if we spray EonCoat in the morning the tank can be returned to service the same day because it applies in one coat and dries quickly,” said Hobbs.

EonCoat consists of two, non-hazardous components that do not interact until applied by a plural spray system like those commonly used to apply polyurethane foam or polyurea coatings. Since the coating is inorganic, there are no VOCs, no HAPs and no odour. This means that the coating can be applied safely, even in confined spaces.

“Since the corrosion resistant coating has no VOCs, HAPs or odour we were able to spray during work hours, so work next to the tanks could continue while we coated them,” concludes Hobbs. “For any tank, facility, or transportation-related operation with corrosion issues, it is well worth considering.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hot Mess: How Radioactive Fracking Waste Wound Up Near Homes And Schools

Original Story:

The energy that lights up, turns on, cools and heats our lives leaves a trail of waste. Natural gas is no exception. The waste from the gas drilling known as “fracking” is often radioactive. The gas industry produces thousands of tons of this “hot” waste and companies and state regulators throughout the Ohio River valley and Marcellus Shale gas region struggle to find safe ways to get rid of it. One option to consider is chemical holding tanks.

Last August a convoy of trucks carrying a concentrated form of this waste traveled from northern West Virginia to Irvine, Kentucky. The small town in Estill County lies near the Kentucky River, where Appalachian hills give way to rolling farm country.

The trucks were headed for a municipal waste facility called Blue Ridge Landfill. Just across Highway 89 from the landfill is the home where Denny and Vivian Smith live on property where their ancestors have lived since the 1800s. This may need a Tulsa Environmental Lawyer to sort things out.

“This is our home place,” Vivian Smith said from her sun porch. “This is roots for us.”

From their sun porch, facing east, the Smiths can see the entrance to Blue Ridge Landfill. From their front door, facing west, they can see Estill County High School and Estill County Middle School, with a combined enrollment of about 1,200 students.

The trucks that arrived in Irvine last summer left more than 400 tons of low-level radioactive waste in a facility that was not engineered or permitted to accept that sort of material. That has left the community, the parents of schoolchildren, and especially the Smiths with a lot of questions and concerns. -- “We are getting older and we feel like we’re kind of vulnerable to illnesses with what’s going on at the landfill,” Vivian Smith said. A South Jersey Environmental Lawyer is watching the case closely.

The question now reverberating through Irvine and the state agencies investigating the incident: How did this happen?

The answer, in part, lies in the weak federal oversight and patchwork of state regulations regarding this type of waste.

A report from the Center for Public Integrity calls the radioactive waste stream from horizontal oil and gas operations “orphan waste” because no single government agency is fully managing it. Each state is left to figure out its own plan. Ohio, for example, hasn’t formalized waste rules, while New York, which banned fracking, still allows waste disposal “with little oversight,” according to the Center.

Antero Resources petroleum engineer Tom Waltz points to eight, green, 16,000-gallon above-ground storage tanks at the edge of a drilling pad in Doddridge County, West Virginia.

“They hold produced water that the producing wells make,” he explained.

Produced water is one form of drilling waste. It’s salty water laced with chemicals, metals, and naturally occurring radioactive elements that come up thousands of feet along with the gas and oil. Antero is the country’s eighth-largest gas drilling company and operates hundreds of sites like this, producing hundreds of thousands of barrels of waste.

The easiest way to get rid of wastewater is to inject it back into the ground, but that can lead to pollution and even earthquakes. One of Antero’s lead civil engineers, Conrad Baston, says processing the wastewater – separating it into salt, sludge, and water – is becoming more attractive.

No Easy Solutions

Antero is spending $275 million to construct a wastewater facility in West Virginia which is scheduled to begin operation in September, 2017. At its peak, the facility could see up to 600 trucks a day, processing 60,000 barrels of wastewater.

A filtering system would recover about two-thirds of the water, which could be reused in drilling. But that filtration system leaves behind thousands of tons of salt and hundreds of tons of sludge from the sediment, which concentrates the radioactive materials. Baston said that sludge — as much as 180 tons a day — will be disposed of elsewhere.

“Given some of the flux in the regulatory environment with regard to those sludges,” he said, “we’ve elected to take those sludges to a landfill that’s currently licensed to accept it.”

Baston couldn’t say which facilities or where, but he said Antero is exploring options across the country. West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection said no approved facilities exist in the state. That would mean the waste will have to cross state lines. An Antero spokesperson said waste from their facility will go only to approved and vetted landfills.

The Center for Public Integrity report shows that regulators acknowledge that this waste is effectively being “shopped around” by companies hoping for affordable disposal. Antero officials maintain that industry has no other choice. A Denver Environmental Litigation Lawyer says this step is critical.

Records filed with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health show that a company Antero had contracted with to process its wastewater, Fairmont Brine, was the source of the waste that wound up in Blue Ridge Landfill in Irvine, Kentucky. Antero officials said their company is not responsible for how that waste was disposed of. Officials at Fairmont Brine did not respond to requests to comment for this story.

Waiting for Answers

Since reporters at the Louisville Courier-Journal first reported on the improper dumping of fracking waste in Kentucky, community leaders in Irvine have been asking for answers. The landfill is under investigation by multiple state agencies for accepting the waste.

“Knowing that there was nothing going on to protect us,” Vivian Smith said, “I think it’s like the henhouse was not guarded and the fox got in.”

The Smiths have had their share of illnesses and they wonder what effect the radioactive waste might have on them or on the children who attend school nearby. This low-level radioactive waste is not as hazardous as the wastes from nuclear power. But according the the Environmental Protection Agency, the radioactive materials in drilling waste do present risks. Radioactive dust is potentially harmful and it would be bad if the radioactive leachate, or liquid that oozes out from the landfill, were to contaminate groundwater over time. Radioactive waste can last centuries — far longer than the engineered lifespan of the liners in many landfills. A San Antonio Environmental Lawyer may need to be contacted.

Officials with Blue Ridge Landfill’s parent company, Advanced Disposal, declined to comment while under investigation. The Smiths hope that investigation will shed light on any risks they might be living with because of the hot mess left next door.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Persian Gulf War Veterans Still Suffering Serious Health Problems

Original Story:

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Persian Gulf War.

It was fought in late 1990 through early 1991 by a U.S.-led coalition of 34 countries against Iraq in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Was there a problem with a chemical storage tank leaking?

It also was the first U.S. war to be waged after the advent of the 24-hour cable television news cycle.

The conflict was accompanied by memorably intense and round-the-clock coverage on CNN.

But there’ve been few recognitions of the war’s 25-year milestone on the cable news networks, let alone in broadcast or print media.

For David Winnett, a Gulf War combat veteran who climbed the ranks from private to captain during his 20-year career in the U.S. Marines, it’s just the latest in a succession of insults to the men and women who served in this largely forgotten war.  This may need the services of a Los Angeles Toxic Torts Lawyer.

“It’s no surprise that many people could easily forget ‘our war.’ It was far too fast by any historical measure,” Winnett told Healthline. “Perhaps things would be different had we continued our advance all the way to Baghdad, but the fact is, we didn’t. So regardless of whether or not we think our war has been unfairly set aside in the history books, it is what it is.”

Toxic Aftermath

While ground combat in the Persian Gulf War only lasted days, Winnett said, the toxic legacy of the war has been just as devastating for the postwar health of Gulf War veterans as the defoliant Agent Orange has been for those who served in Vietnam.

Winnett is just one of hundreds of thousands of Gulf War vets who suffer from Gulf War Illness (GWI), also known as Gulf War Syndrome, the panoply of chronic and often debilitating symptoms reported by veterans of that conflict.

The acute symptoms, which for many veterans never go away, include extreme fatigue, neurological issues, insomnia, migraines, joint pain, persistent coughing, gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and constipation, skin problems, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.

The National Academy of Sciences estimates that as many as 250,000 of the 700,000 U.S. troops who served in the Persian Gulf War have been affected by GWI, which studies have shown is the result of a litany of toxic exposures that troops like Winnett endured while serving.

Troops were exposed to toxic smoke from the fires of thousands of military burn pits in the war zone. The fires involved tires and other things that contain harmful chemicals.

There was also sarin and other toxic chemicals dropped on U.S. troops.

Two peer reviewed scientific research studies released in 2012 concluded that weather patterns carried massive toxic chemical cloud that fell on U.S. troops. The cloud was created by the U.S. bombing of Iraqi chemical weapon storage facilities

The first study concluded that nerve and blister agents, which were supplied to Iraq by the U.S. before the Gulf War when Hussein was an uncomfortable ally, were bombed by U.S. forces. The toxic substances were swept into the atmosphere and subsequently dropped on U.S. troops.

The second study confirmed the number of GWI reports was in fact higher at the places where the sarin fell.

“Our peer reviewed scientific findings bring us full circle by confirming what most soldiers believed when they heard the nerve gas alarms. The alarms were caused by sarin fallout from our bombing of Iraqi weapons sites,” James Tuite, who led the first study, said in a statement.

The VA’s Position

Despite the scientific evidence and a mandate from Congress that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognize several of the symptoms as connected to service in the Gulf War, the VA maintains that there are no definitive scientific studies that link symptoms and diseases associated with GWI to toxic exposures during the war.

According to a 2015 report, about 80 percent of Gulf War veterans who file disability claims citing presumptive chronic multisymptom illnesses connected to toxic exposures are denied by the VA.

A written statement from the VA’s Post-Deployment Health Services team to Healthline stated that in the past few years the VA has “ramped up educational efforts to VA providers on Gulf War Illness.” However, the statement read, “there are times when referral to a psychiatrist is indicated due to a co-morbid condition such as severe depression or another severe mental health condition.”

In another email to Healthline, VA officials said a claim could be denied for a number of reasons, including the belief an ailment was caused by something other than military service or the ailment could be “less than 10 percent disabling.”

Most often, say multiple sources for this story, veterans who say they have these symptoms are sent to the psychiatric departments of VA centers, where they are typically given psychotropic drugs that don’t help them, and in many cases make things worse.

The VA acknowledges the following in a statement on its website: “Rockets filled with sarin and cyclosporine mixes were found at a munitions storage depot in Khamisiyah, Iraq, that had been demolished by U.S. service members following the 1991 Gulf War cease-fire. An undetermined amount of these chemicals was released into the atmosphere. The Department of Defense concluded about 100,000 Gulf War Veterans could have been exposed to low levels of these nerve agents.”

The VA also adds that “research doesn’t show long-term neurological problems from exposure to low levels of sarin. A low level of sarin is an amount that doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms during the exposure.”

Regarding the burn pits, a VA statement on its burn pits registry page reads, “At this time, research does not show evidence of long-term health problems from exposure to burn pits.”

Did the Gulf War Cause Cancer, Too?

Benjamin Krause is a Gulf War veteran who went to law school after he retired from the military, and dedicates his practice to helping his fellow veterans.

He told Healthline that burn pit exposures are associated with an increasing number of diseases, including cancer.

“There’s growing evidence showing a link between burn pits and certain cancers like pancreatic cancer, for example,” Krause said. “VA is working to create a registry to help with service connection and health benefits for these veterans, but history has shown us that such initiatives take much longer to perfect while sick veterans die.”

Compounding the problem, Krause said, are non-VA healthcare providers who are simply unaware of the health risks of military service.

“They don’t ask the right questions and risk deadly misdiagnosis of symptoms because of a lack of awareness of the harms of burn pits, among other things,” Krause noted. “Veterans are getting sick and dying now. We need our VA to pick up the pace before more veterans get sick and die from burn pit exposure related illnesses.”

Congress Steps In

Anthony Hardie, a staff sergeant in the Army who served in combat deployments in the Gulf War and Somalia, has worked for years to get laws passed that set the framework for Gulf War veterans’ healthcare, research, and disability benefits.

The director of Veterans for Common Sense and chair of the programmatic panel of directors for the Gulf War Illness Research Program, Hardie’s work with fellow veteran advocates on both sides of the aisle led to the passage of the Persian Gulf War Veterans Act of 1998 and the Veterans Programs Enhancement Act of 1998.

Hardie told Healthline that these laws gave Gulf War veterans hope for new treatments and recognition by the VA that their persistent symptoms were related to their service.

“But when veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness walk through the door at VA centers and clinics in 2016,” he said, “there are still no evidence-based treatments for them. And most of them are just shuffled off to psychiatric care.”

Winnett added that while Congress deemed three symptoms to be “presumptive” to service in the Gulf War, the VA continues to largely ignore that.

“The most widely reported symptoms of Gulf War Illness are profound fatigue, excruciating bodywide muscle pain, and chronic GI problems,” said Winnett. “The VA, despite its own regulations that are supposed to give the benefit of the doubt to veterans with symptoms considered ‘presumptive’ to service in the Persian Gulf War, instead continue as an organization to view Gulf War Illness as a psychosomatic illness.”

Winnett explained that if a veteran can’t get their symptoms rated as service-connected, “their chance of receiving medical care relative to their symptoms is slim to none. This is a national tragedy of the highest order.”

Reasons for Optimism

Despite the frustrations, every veteran advocate interviewed for this story said there is reason for optimism.

For one thing, Congress recently decided to continue funding GWI treatment research at $20 million for the next year.

“[This] is just what we asked for,” said Hardie. “It shows that Congress continues to take Gulf War veterans’ health issues far more seriously than the Department of Defense or the VA.”
In addition to the two House hearings earlier this year, the Senate has also taken up the GWI issue.

Last month, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, announced that reforms and investments she fought for to improve veterans’ care were passed by the Senate as a part of the fiscal year 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill.

Among Baldwin’s priorities stated in the bill is “better treatment for veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness.”

Baldwin’s provisions, which have received virtually no media coverage, would “improve the approval rates of veterans’ disability claims; enhance ongoing studies and research into the causes of and treatments for Gulf War Illness; and strengthen the membership and work of the Research Advisory Committee, which oversees the government’s research agenda.”

A spokesperson for the VA told Healthline, “The Department of Veterans Affairs is currently working on responding directly to Senator Baldwin, and will include relevant post-deployment health information.”

Promising New Science

The science surrounding GWI also continues to progress.

Two major, four-year, $5 million treatment development research projects at Nova Southeastern University and Boston University are about halfway completed and are expected to break new ground for possible GWI treatment recommendations.

And while there are no evidence-based treatments yet for GWI, some natural supplements have been shown in studies to effectively lessen some of the symptoms.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, concluded a few years ago that 19 of the most common GWI symptoms improved after taking supplements.

“We found in our research that there was significant benefit to the veterans’ physical function,” Beatrice Golomb, professor of medicine at the school and principal investigator on the study, told the Bergmann & Moore veterans law firm. “And that is a huge issue with these veterans, whose physical functions often decline. Some of them used to run 20 miles. Now they can’t jog a couple of blocks.”

About 80 percent of veterans with GWI who took coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) saw improved physical function, and the improvement correlated to higher levels of CoQ10 found in the blood, according to research published in Neural Computation.

“This is not a cure, but we think maybe if we give the veterans more of a mitochondrial cocktail they will see an even greater benefit,” Golomb said.

Forgotten After 9/11

Winnett said he felt a “moral obligation” to help his fellow vets after making a 2008 trip to Washington for a VA hearing on Gulf War veterans’ health.

“I was taken aback by the physical condition of the veterans I saw there,” Winnett recalled. “I was older than most Gulf War veterans because I had 16 years of service under my belt when the war began. In Washington, I saw veterans in their 40s who couldn’t walk without assistance. Some were in wheelchairs.”

Winnett said that after 9/11, many people in America, including legislators, just forgot about the fact that many thousands of 1991 veterans were sick.

“We moved on as a country following 9/11 to more pressing matters,” he said. “I would guess that Korean War veterans experienced a similar phenomenon as the Vietnam War ramped up in the mid 1960s. There comes a time when you’re no longer the flavor of the day.”

Thomas Bandzul, an attorney and veterans advocate who’s testified numerous times before Congress on Gulf War health issues, said the American public to this day simply does not have a good understanding of the effects the Gulf War had on the troops.

“The VA has downplayed the significance of Gulf War Illness and has successfully delayed the research that help veterans with their physical ailments,” Bandzul said. “VA still refuses to treat or allow these veterans a disability claim. The unspecific term of ‘general illness’ is still applied to most Gulf War veterans, and their claims are usually denied. This callous and capricious manner in dealing with veterans is a shame.”

Veterans Have Each Other’s Backs

But what stands out most among the Gulf War veterans who agreed to talk to Healthline for this piece is their relentless support of each other.

Last year, Larry Cockrell, a combat veteran who served with the 7th Marines in Task Force Ripper during the first Gulf War, was rated 100 percent disabled by the VA and retired from a successful career as an investigator for several Fortune 500 companies.

Cockrell has several serious health issues as a result of his service, but he’s dedicated his life to assisting his fellow combat veterans as well as their families on their ranch in Lake Mathews in Southern California.

“We assist combat veterans with file claims or file disagreements with VA,” he told Healthline. “Honestly, the Gulf War was forgotten when the parades ended. We fought the largest tank battles, birched the largest minefields, and injected our troops with experimental vaccines, all while fighting on the most contaminated battlefield in the history of warfare.”

Cockrell said “everyone dropped the ball” when Gulf War veterans came home and could not get the healthcare they needed. But he said he has gotten new strength and has never felt a stronger sense of purpose than he does now by helping his fellow veterans on his ranch.

“We love having the spouses and partners here enjoying the ambience and horses and giving their kids rides,” he said. “Ironically, I’ve only had a few veterans jump on a horse and ride. But as Winston Churchill once said, ‘the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.’ Just being around them assists veterans. It’s a given that our health issues are not going to get better as we get older. It’s time to give these combat veterans a 100 percent disability rating and a chance to manage their disabilities.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

50k Pounds Of Potatoes Across I-77 Shuts Down Traffic

Original story:

A portion of Interstate 77 was shut down for hours Friday after a tractor-trailer crashed, spilling thousands of potatoes across the highway. It is likely that a Charlotte truck accident lawyer will be contacted.

A Channel 9 photographer was traveling behind the truck and witnessed the crash around 2 a.m. in the southbound lanes of I-77 near West Boulevard.

The impact was so violent that the engine flew out of the big rig.

Two other drivers who were following the truck jumped out and rescued the truck driver, who was rushed to Carolinas Medical Center. Officials said he'd be OK.

“Maybe he fell sleep, and sadly hit the guard rail,” said rescuer Garrett Bonacci. “Thank the Lord he's all right.”

"We stopped immediately and saw a guy try to crawl out of the cab,” said Grant Wales. “Saw a lot fire going on, so I ran to him. His leg was pinned, tried pulling him out.”

The two rescuers and state troopers told Channel 9 that the driver said he fell asleep behind the wheel. A Charlotte trucking lawyer says that this unfortunately happens more than we would like to think.

No other vehicles were involved in crash, which damaged about 20 feet of guard rail and concrete barrier.

Officials said the interstate would be closed through the morning rush hour while crews worked to clean-up the 50,000 pounds of potatoes that scattered for hundreds of yards across the road.

Some potatoes were soaked in diesel fuel and clean-up crews had to separate the clean potatoes from the one's contaminated with fuel and oil.

Thousands of clean potatoes were hauled into trucks to be taken to a landfill.

Lee Shank, who is the president of Carolina Environmental, the company called to help clean up, said it could take days before they decide what to do with the potatoes mixed with fuel and oil.

"You basically had diesel fuel and oil petroleum products that are mixed with some of the potatoes," he explained. "Some of the potatoes we had to either clean or will be disclosed as off-spec food product food waste. It sounds simple but we actually go through them (the potatoes) and see where the diesel fuel stopped, and all the potatoes passed that are clean."

Drivers were advised to take the following detour: From I-77 south, take Exit 11 (I-277), follow I-277 and take exit 1-B to get back on I-77 south.

Clean-up crews initially hoped to have one lane open by 5 a.m. and all lanes open by 8 a.m. but DOT officials said all the lanes would not reopen until at least noon.

The far left lane was reopened just before 8 a.m. and a second lane was reopened around 11:30 a.m.

All lanes were reopened around 4 p.m.

Highway Patrol has not identified that driver but said he is expected to recover.

Sgt. Jeff Nash said they will decide later if he will be charged. If a Charlotte truck crash lawyer is involved then charges were made.

“I'm sure you've got failure to maintain lane control. Why he ran off the roadway, we're still investigating that,” Nash said.

Iowa City Resident Killed In Tractor Vs. Semi Accident

Original Story:

A collision Thursday between a semi-truck and a tractor killed an Iowa City resident and injured a Tipton resident.

The fatal collision took place at 12:15 p.m Thursday just northwest of Morse in rural Johnson County, near the intersection of Morse Road Northeast and Vincent Avenue Northeast, according to crash report from the Iowa State Patrol. An Iowa truck accident lawyer is looking into the case.

The John Deere tractor was traveling eastbound while the semi was traveling westbound on Morse Road when the tractor started turning left, according to the crash report. The semi hit the tractor and the tractor driver was ejected from the vehicle.

The driver of the tractor was not wearing a seat belt, the report said.

The report did not release the names of those involved in the accident, but the driver who was killed was reported to be 55 years old and from Iowa City. The driver of the truck, who was injured and taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, was 69 and from Tipton. A Des Moines truck accident lawyer may be called onto the case.

There was no additional information on the truck driver's injuries.