The Sonoma County District Attorney’s office is looking for suspects after Healdsburg and county responders took in two acid barrels that were left on the side of the road.
The first barrel was discovered off Kinley Drive on June 4, the second was found on June 6 on Old Redwood Highway near Eastside Road.
Hazmat teams responded, and no spill was reported. The acid in both barrels was found to be the same and had a pH of 0. The type is called Hexafluorozirconic acid, which is used in metal washing to reduce corrosion and as a catalyst for reactions to make titanium oxide.
Healdsburg Fire Marshal Linda Collister was one of the first responders to the incident, according to a city manager report. She assisted Sonoma County hazmat Capt. Dan Patalano in clearing the drum.
“We’ve had drums dropped off before where hazmat responded, but this is the first time that we’ve seen one that was this bad,” Collister said of the drums.
Collister said the acid is not common to her knowledge.
“I’ve done a lot of inspections in the county, and we don’t see that one very often at all,” she said.
The first drum had a label on it, the second did not, but since the two shared the same pH level, it was assumed that the drums were related.
The case was then handed over to county district attorney investigator Mark Azzouni’s office.
According to district attorney media spokesperson Brian Staebell, “Azzouni contacted the company who manufactured the product whose label ‘Parker Amchen’ was on the drums. However, ‘Henkel’ purchased Parker Amchem over 25 years ago.”
Henkel has multiple locations, including two listed in the Bay Area.
The product listed on the label has not been manufactured by them for at least 15 years, and the serial number on the label is not in their database, Staebell said. The company checked their archives and did not have any further information.
There was no opportunity to attempt to get fingerprints or any other identifying information from the barrels as they were disposed of due to the fact they were health hazards, Staebell said.
Collister said a possible reason for abandoning the acid was cost.
“It’s expensive to dispose of those,” she said.
The state has a fund for the Department of Toxic Substance Control, which paid to have the barrels disposed of, Collister said.
Though improper disposal of a toxic substance is a crime, Staebell said his office wouldn’t have specific charges until a suspect is found.
If you have any information about the incident, contact District Attorney Investigator Mark Azzouni at 707-565-2311.