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Texas State, city of San Marcos crews contain chemical spill


A chemical spill Thursday morning at Texas State University temporarily rerouted traffic and closed some parking garages and lots on the campus as crews worked to contain the spill.

The University Police Department, the San Marcos Fire Department and crews from the university physical plant were dispatched to the spill scene adjacent to the university’s Cogeneration Plant at 7 a.m. Most streets and parking garages were reopened within two hours.

“The response by university and city emergency personnel was prompt, efficient and effective,” said Joanne Smith, vice president of student affairs at Texas State. “Many individuals from different offices and agencies worked together and did an outstanding job.”

The spill came from a leaking sulfuric acid tank. Sulfuric acid is stored at the site where it is used to soften the water used in the cooling towers to prevent the buildup of scale and lime deposits.

The primary containment area at the tank failed, but some of the spill was contained in a neutralization pit at the site. A small amount overflowed from that pit but was contained in a nearby drainage area where it was neutralized with soda ash and later removed. The spill did not threaten the San Marcos River. Approximately 450 gallons leaked from the tank.

An undetermined amount of the substance also entered the San Marcos sanitary sewer system. City and university crews continue to work to prevent disruption at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

City, university and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality officials are investigating the cause of the spill.