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Waste Manifest Jargon Confused First-Responders

Waste Manifest Jargon Confused First-Responders

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Emergency responders to last weekend's acid spill in a South Salt Lake railyard say they're frustrated over a confusing document designed to list the contents of the leaking tanker.

South Salt Lake Fire Chief Steve Foote say the spill could have cost a lot less and been safer if crews had the information they needed on the tanker's manifest.

A manifest is designed to track the shipment of chemical waste and reveal what material is inside the tanker. But Foote says he had no clue what acids he was dealing with. That's why he had to assign the Midvale Fire Department the task of making sense of the document.

Philip Services Corporation is the company that leased the tanker from Kennecott Utah Copper. PSC insists the manifest was clear.

But critics of the documents say first-responders are often confused by the codes and legalese of the manifests, because they aren't familiar with the jargon of highly technical fields.

Officials say the cost of Sunday's response and the resulting cleanup will easily top a half-million dollars.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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