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Hazmat situation on Chattahoochee
Mysterious drums secured, weren't leaking on road
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Firefighters suit up as they prepare to go remove two drums from the side of Chattahoochee Road. - photo by Jim Dean
A northeastern Forsyth County road was temporarily closed Thursday after county workers discovered two drums that appeared to contain hazardous chemicals.

Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said the find was made about 11 a.m. in the right of way on Chattahoochee Road near Shady Grove Road.

He said the fire department’s hazardous materials unit responded and found labels on the 55-gallon drums indicating they contained an industrial oxidizer. There was, however, no indication who owned the drums.

“Any time we have this kind of incident we have to use all precautions because you don’t know what you’re facing,” Shivers said. “We had to use all of our resources to ensure the safety of the environment and our personnel.”

He said the Hall County Fire Department’s decontamination team assisted with recovering the drums.

Once the containers were secured and placed in larger drums, they were brought back up to the road, where their contents were tested.

“They were not leaking, but indications are that they are not the oxidizer that the label says they were,” Shivers said.

He said the contents appeared to be a mixture of oil and water.

It was not clear whether the drums had been intentionally abandoned. Shivers said Forsyth County's code enforcement department was notified.

A company from Flowery Branch was called to retrieve the drums and dispose of them, he said.

“They’ll take them to a secure area, test the product inside and then deal with it appropriately,” he said.

Because of high temperatures Thursday, Shivers said, hazardous materials technicians worked in shifts, with measures taken to keep them hydrated and cool.

Chattahoochee runs between Holtzclaw and Shady Grove roads, northeast of Cumming and near Lake Lanier.

The drums were found about a mile from Chattahoochee Elementary School, which is out for the summer.

No residents were evacuated as a result of the incident, Shivers said.

Check back for updates at or see the next edition of the Forsyth County News.