Cherokee County

Thousands of gallons of tar, diesel spill out of flipped tanker in Pickens County

PICKENS COUNTY, Ga. — Thousands of gallons of tar and diesel and thousands of pounds of sand filled a Pickens County road on Wednesday morning.

Cherokee County hazardous materials teams were called out to assist with the spill in front of the historic Tate House on Hwy. 53.

When they arrived, a tanker-trailer had flipped and started spilling the hot tar it was carrying, as well as the diesel in its tank.

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Pickens County Fire and Rescue crews were able to pull the driver out of the tanker before hazmat teams got there.

Crews were able to quickly stop the diesel leak before it contaminated anything other than the road.

The tar was flowing into a roadside culvert and a nearby pasture. By the time crews were able to stop it, officials estimate between 3,000 and 5,000 gallons of tar had spilled out. It’s unclear what damage was done to the culvert and pasture.


After the leak was stopped, Pickens County Public Works dropped 18 tons of sand onto the spill to help soak up the spill.

Pickens County Fire Chief Tim Prather said one person was taken to a trauma center for treatment. It has not been confirmed if that person was the driver, and there is no word on their injuries.

Hwy. 53 reopened on Wednesday afternoon.

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