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Teams remove substance for testing

Sep 29, 2008  
From staff reports   

An unknown substance in a soda bottle underwent testing after response teams secured and removed it from a university parking lot this morning. The standard, precautionary procedures took place without incident.

"Our main goal was to keep the liquid from escaping into the lot or storm sewers until material specialists could take a sample to the lab," Associate Vice President for Safety and Risk Management David Hopka said. "That's normal protocol when you're not certain what you're dealing with."  

An Ohio University grounds crew discovered the bottle in Lot 41 while making cleanup rounds this morning, Sgt. John Stabler of the Ohio University Police Department said. The crew found the bottle lying in the middle of the parking lot, which is located near Seigfred Hall, and saw a dark green substance inside that appeared to be expanding. They called OUPD at 8:36 a.m.

Teams encapsulated the bottle in a plastic shell, sealed off storm drains and took other routine, precautionary measures.

Units set up to respond to such circumstances -- including the Logan Fire Department Hazardous Material Rapid Response Unit, Athens Fire Department, Athens County Hazardous Materials Team and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency -- handled the procedures. The Logan unit took a sample of the substance, secured the bottle in special packaging and turned the package over to university health and safety personnel, who will arrange for proper disposal.

The parking lot remained closed until the responders packed up their respective units. Classes were not disturbed, but a few nearby homes were evacuated in case problems arose.

The EPA conducted tests at its Groveport laboratory. Preliminary results identified a strong acid in the contents. The EPA is expected to run more tests to determine if other substances were present.

OUPD will investigate the incident further.


This story was updated at 6:59 p.m. to include emerging details, clarify that some nearby residences were evacuated and provide the correct title of the Athens County Hazardous Materials Team. 

Related Links
Environmental Health and Safety: http://www.ohiou.edu/ehs/ 

Published: Sep 29, 2008 1:58 PM  

Teams clean up after removing substance 
The university took precautionary measures this morning after grounds workers discovered a plastic bottle containing an unknown liquid. Members of the Logan Fire Department Hazardous Material Rapid Response Unit, shown here, were among those responding.  

Photographer: Rick Fatica  

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