COLUMBUS, NC (WSPA) – Polk County officials say the hazardous chemical spilled at the Sheriff’s Office has been mitigated and a clean up is almost finished.
The County Manager Marche Pittman says employees were being monitored for changes in health. They have been checked out and cleared.
The Sheriff’s Office will remain closed for the rest of the day and they ask you to call 911 if you have an emergency.
Polk Co. Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge says the Polk Co. Jail was evacuated due to a chemical spill around 9:23 a.m.
The chemical is Paraquat Dichloride. The Environmental Protection Agency says the chemical is an herbicide.
It is highly toxic to human and one small sip is fatal and there’s no antidote, according to the EPA.
Pittman says the container was being kept as evidence in an ongoing investigation in the Sheriff’s Building.
It was being sent off to be tested by the FBI. They were returning it to the evidence room when they found the leak.
It was then taken outside. Arledge said it was in a 5 gallon bucket.
Director Arledge says 17 inmates and 20 employees are being medically monitored.
The inmates were transported to surrounding counties for continuous medical monitoring, according to Pittman.
Director Arledge say they will be returned to jail tomorrow.
Pittman says there is no risk to anyone in surrounding buildings.