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Sulphuric Acid Plant Safety - Accidents (Recent)
January 5, 2016


Associated Links

Storage Tank Failures


Accidents - Archive



No matter how well a plant is designed and operated, there is the potential for accidents to happen.  Accidents can be as minor as small spills or releases to major incidents that require evacuation, personal injury or death.


Plans must be in place for all possible situations and personnel should be trained so they now how to react to minimize the impact of an accident.  The following are accidents, both minor and major that have involved sulphuric acid plants or sulphuric acid.



Transportation - River, Ocean, Road, Rail, Marine



Environmental - Release




Type Date Location Details
Transportation - Rail
December 27, 2015 new2.gif (111 bytes) Julia Creek
North-West Queensland

The locomotive and all 26 carriages derailed at 10:20am about 20 kilometres east of the outback town.  Authorities declared an emergency under the Public Safety Preservation Act and placed a two-kilometre exclusion zone around the crash site. They said there was minor leakage of sulphuric acid and diesel fuel spillage at the crash site.  Aurizon said three drivers sustained minor injuries in the accident and attended the Julia Creek hospital.  "Two drivers have been released and the third is expected to be released later today," an Aurizon spokesperson said on Sunday.  "At this early stage, the cause of the incident is not known. Both Aurizon and Queensland Rail will investigate the incident and determine its cause.  "At this time the focus is on recovery of the incident site."  The Flinders Highway has been closed in both directions between Julia Creek and Richmond.  Queensland Rail said it was unclear how long the train line would remain closed.  Julia Creek Hotel publican David Wyld said the locomotive went into the bore drain after it rolled and ended up underwater.  "So that would've pulled off all the whole 26 carriages with sulphuric acid," he said.  Mr Wyld said the road was blocked by rail workers immediately after the accident.  "The police and all that couldn't get to it, blocked the whole road off straight away," he said.  "And you could smell the sulphuric acid where they actually blocked it off."  Queensland Rail works to access site.  A spokeswoman from Queensland Rail said wet weather had flooded local roads, so they had not been able to get anyone on site to assess the damage.  "We are looking at alternate ways to get Queensland Rail crews to site," she said.  "Passenger rail services have been cancelled. The Inlander has been cancelled today and tomorrow from Townsville to Mount Isa.  "Updates on passenger services will be made as soon as they are available."  Aurizon said interim arrangements had been put in place to maintain site safety until the status of the derailed wagons and any product spillage could be confirmed.

December 29, 2015 - It was feared more than 30,000 litres (7,925 gallons) of sulphuric acid had spilled after all 26 carriages of a freight train carrying the chemical derailed in remote northern Australia, authorities said on Tuesday.The train, belonging to locally listed freight firm Aurizon Ltd, was carrying about 819,000 litres (216,360 gallons) of sulphuric acid, four times the amount first estimated, when it derailed in Queensland state on Sunday."One of the carriages has likely ruptured and it is possible that up to 31,500 litres of acid has leaked out," Queensland Police said in a statement.Testing by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection suggested that a nearby waterway had not been adversely affected by any leak, the statement said.Aurizon said in an email to Reuters the cause of the incident was not yet known. Three train drivers had received minor injuries but had been released from hospital, it said.A derailment and chemical spill adds to pressure on the haulage company after a downturn in coal shipping volumes forced it to issue a profit warning last week, sending its shares sharply lower.It would also disrupt mining companies already slashing production volumes to cope with weak commodity prices. Miners use sulphuric acid to separate and clean some minerals.The train was traveling from the east coast port city of Townsville to Phosphate Hill, 1,000 km (620 miles) inland, Aurizon said.The police statement did not give a cause for the derailment but said the area had experienced flooding, causing a nearby highway to be cut off.Police said they had formed a 2-km (1.2-mile) exclusion zone around the crash site to help salvage crews gain access.

January 2, 2016 - A temporary track will be built around the accident site after a train that was carrying more than 800,000 litres of sulphuric acid derailed in Queensland’s northwest.  A highway near a freight train that derailed in Queensland’s northwest has reopened almost a week after the accident, and a temporary track will be built to bypass the site.  The train was carrying more than 800,000 litres of sulphuric acid, of which about 31,500 litres spilled when all 26 of the train’s wagons overturned near Julia Creek last Sunday.  An exclusion zone around the site was reduced on Saturday afternoon, allowing the Flinders Highway to open.  “While there is no danger for people travelling on the Flinders Highway past the derailment site, police will enforce a reduced speed of 40km/h,”  Queensland Police said in a statement.  An area of 50 metres all around the train will remain cordoned off and aircraft are banned from flying above the site.  Specialists are continuing to monitor water quality in the area.  The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said earlier this week it held concerns about acidity levels in nearby Horse Creek and was looking at ways to neutralise the acid.

January 5, 2016 - Sulfuric acid may have leaked from a second wagon on a train that derailed in Queensland's northwest more than a week ago.  The train was carrying more than 800,000 litres of sulfuric acid when all 26 wagons derailed near Julia Creek on December 27.  It was initially estimated that 31,500 litres had spilled from one wagon, but it has become apparent a second wagon may also have a minor leak.  "Queensland Rail's Incident Rail Commander was yesterday (Tuesday) advised by Incitec Pivot that one additional wagon may also have a very minor leak, which is being treated on site," the company's chief executive Helen Gluer said.  Water testing around the crash site came back positive for the toxic chemical at Horse Creek, a small slow-flowing waterway, prompting authorities to neutralise the acid.  Ms Gluer said Queensland Rail had appointed a consulting company to undertake an environmental monitoring program and to provide expert advice about any environmental impacts.  The Mount Isa line remains closed, with the locomotive and 26 wagons on their side.  Wet conditions have hampered recovery efforts and the construction of a temporary track around the crash site.  Recovery crews are building access roads from a nearby highway to the railway so heavy machinery can access the site.  "Construction of the deviation has unfortunately been delayed due to wet ground conditions around the site. However, with water beginning to clear we expect to complete the deviation late next week," Ms Gluer said.  The Inlander service has been replaced by buses, while freight trains are only running between Mount Isa and Phosphate Hill.


Transportation - Road December 7, 2015 new2.gif (111 bytes) Pubnico, Nova Scotia

No other vehicles were involved in the incident and the driver was not injured, according to the RCMP.  Emergency personnel, including hazmat teams, have been dispatched to the scene. One crew was reported to have come from Kings County to assist in the cleanup.  Provincial RCMP spokesperson Craig Burnett said the section of highway would be closed for several hours as the spill is cleaned up, well into this evening. The RCMP had originally said that the tractor trailer tipped and some barrels containing the sulphuric acid were punctured, and tweets that were sent out by the RCMP referred to a "crash" having occured.  Later on Twitter the RCMP said an investigation had determined that a crash did not occur, but that the "Tractor trailer driver noticed issue with load and parked." The RCMP later said the spill occurred from a leaking barrell that was in an enclosed trailor. It had come loose. The truck was carrying several barrells of sulphuric acid.  There was no official media release about the incident issued by the RCMP on Monday.  The highway was closed betweens Exits 30 near Barrington and Exit 32 near Argyle from Monday afternoon until late Monday night.  While the section of highway was closed traffic was being rerouted to Route 3.

Environmental - Release August 15, 2015 Terre Haute, Indiana
Spectators at a racetrack in Indiana were sickened by a sulfur dioxide leak on Saturday.  As many as 18 people were admitted to a local hospital, complaining of irritable breathing and burning skin.  The small, dirt track was evacuated and the event was shut down.  Authorities say the chemical was sulfur dioxide and they blame a neighboring facility owned by the Hydrite Chemical Company.  Terre Haute Fire Battalion Chief Joe Swan said, “We believe Hydrite’s got everything shot down and there’s no leaks at this time.”

August 21, 2015
Company officials say there'll be some temporary production changes after a chemical leak in Terre Haute last weekend.
Last week more than a dozen people were treated at a hospital after the leak at Hydrite Chemical Co.Firefighters at the scene said sulfur dioxide had leaked and winds carried fumes to nearby Hulman-Mini Speedway, where a crowd was watching auto races. Many people were evacuated from the area and some complained of respiratory problems including difficulty breathing, nasal irritation, as well as nausea and a metallic taste in their mouths.WTHI in Terre Haute reports that Hydrite will stop production from a piece of equipment that leaked during races.The closures will run from noon to midnight on race days.
Spill July 24, 2015 Indian Orchard A 500 to 1,000 gallon spill of sulfuric acid at the Masspower facility in Indian Orchard has been cleaned up and is being monitored, according to the state DEP and the plant's owner.On July 7, Masspower workers reported a leak from piping connected to a sulfuric acid tank into a containment area, according to documents filed with the DEP. Masspower estimated that 500 to 1,000 gallons escaped the tank, and hired a contractor to begin a clean-up after reporting the incident.A spokesman for Dynegy, the Houston-based energy company that owns the facility, said the leak was reported and cleaned up in accordance to regulations with no exposure to the outside environment."It was identified by a plant operator making normal rounds. Plant personnel followed all emergency response plans already in place. Mass DEP was notified immediately, as well as the Springfield fire department," spokesman David Onufer said. "You never like to see these things, but this was handled best as it could be."The acid was contained to the facility, DEP spokeswoman Catherine Skiba confirmed. A containment room and an attached wastewater tank were contaminated have been cleaned up. The company reported no injuries to workers in a report to the DEP."They did conduct the cleanup and they are conducting environmental monitoring to protect the safety of personnel," Skiba said.The cause of the leak was an elbow pipe connected to the bottom of the tank, which has been replaced, Onufer said.The Masspower facility, near the banks of the Chicopee River on Worcester street, is a 264 megawatt electric plant fueled by natural gas and has operated since 1993, according to regulatory filings with the DEP.
Spill July 20, 2015 Ector County Ector County officials are working to clean up a sulfuric acid spill from Sunday afternoon.The spill occurred around 3:30 p.m. Sunday at 220 S. Proctor Ave. Officials with the Ector County Attorney’s Office said the spill occurred when the acid was being transferred from a train to storage tanks at a local business.A hose used to transfer the acid reportedly ruptured causing the spill, officials said.County Attorney Dusty Gallivan said that right now they are waiting for a team from Houston to arrive and assist in the clean up.The spill was contained Sunday night, and officials are estimating a cleanup time of two to three days.
Transportation - Rail
July 17, 2015 Namibia

It never rains but pours for the national railway carrier of Namibia, TransNamib as earlier this week Train 2703 with two Class 34 locomotives carrying a load of 20 sulphuric acid tankers set for Rio Tinto's Rössing Uranium mine derailed at point 176 en-route from Walvis Bay to Arandis.

According to TransNamib's executive spokesperson, Struggle Ihuhua no injuries were recorded but as a result of the incident, normal passenger and freight rail traffic from Walvis Bay to both Windhoek and the north will be affected and further information as per development on the scene will become available later."Emergency response and accident investigation teams are on the scene to assess the cause of the accident, to assess the losses suffered and to speedily restore operations to normal," he added.Meanwhile, Rössing Uranium mine spokesperson Botha Ellis in a statement said the incident was managed promptly according to set emergency procedures and practices by all relevant parties.

"Our team of experts was also on the scene to give support and assistance, ensuring that all was done in a safe manner. We are told that the rail will be repaired this week," he added.The Rössing Uranium mine, about five months ago experienced a snag after incurring damage from fire on its Final Product Recovery (FPR) plant.On this week's accident, Botha said, "the current incident does not impact our production as we have adequate amounts of sulphuric acid stored on site to continue with normal operations. Sulphuric acid is used in Rössing's extraction process to produce uranium oxide."Rössing's Uranium is made up of the following shareholders. The British-Australian mining conglomerate, Rio Tinto Group holds a 69%, the Iranian government 15% while the Namibian government holds 3%.


July 24, 2015

The derailment of two TransNamib locomotives and a tanker carrying about 25 000 litres of sulphuric acid behind the dunes near Walvis Bay last week was caused by the presence of “sand on the tracks due to the strong east wind”.

This was the explanation given in a response from the parastatal to The Namibian.  The derailment also resulted in a limited spill of the acid used in the leeching of uranium ore.  The train was pulling 20 tankers carrying about 460 000 litres of sulphuric acid to Rio Tinto's Rössing Uranium mine near Arandis. “This was an unfortunate incident which we had no control of. However, the spill was minor and was handled in accordance with the regulations by Rössing Uranium's hazard team,” read the response from TransNamib's senior spokesman Struggle Ihuhua.  Fortunately no one was injured in the accident, although unverifiable damage to infrastructure included “cosmetic to serious damage” to the two locomotives and to about 300 metres of track.  “Our business has been affected. We lost three nights of transporting, because no trains moved out of Walvis Bay and all our customers were affected,” he concluded.  The port of Walvis Bay is a logistics hub through which most of the bulk imports and exports pass.  Inquiries to Rössing Uranium were redirected to TransNamib.  In December 2012 two locomotives and 17 wagons carrying manganese derailed on the line near the site of the latest derailment. That accident cost TransNamib over N$65 million. The accident was said to have been caused by a section of track that was damaged by a truck that got stuck while crossing the railway line.  Little or no strong easterly winds were recorded during the time of the accident although strong south westerly winds, which could have carried dune sand over the tracks prevailed.

July 29, 2015
The Minister of Environment and Tourism (MET), Pohamba Shifeta, has not ruled out the possibility of laying criminal charges against TransNamib management, for allegedly failing to comply with the Environmental Management Act of 2007.This follows the recent derailment of a goods train in the Dorob National Park, transporting toxic acid from Walvis Bay to Rössing mine.Cargo wagons overturned due to sand on the railway tracks, causing sulphuric acid to spill in the park. The incident raised the hackles of the MET as the custodian of Namibia’s natural environment. Sulphuric acid is a very corrosive and poisonous chemical.Shifeta said although TransNamib was issued with an Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) in 2014, which is valid for three years, they failed to inspect the railway to ensure the passage of the dangerous substance would be safe, which is required in terms of the law.“I was informed that TransNamib management apparently does not do inspections,” he stated.“The area is sensitive because of sand dunes. The rail should be inspected to ensure it’s clean before transporting any chemical,” he added.He said it’s high time Namibians take the Environmental Management Act seriously, adding that culprits breaking the law would be dealt with and have to “face the music”.“We will not leave any stone unturned. Anyone or any company found wanting will be taken to task. I want to warn the board of directors that they have a duty to take care of the environment and not endanger the lives of Namibians,” he said.He would however not say whether a criminal case would be opened against TransNamib.“The possibility of criminal charges against the company is there. People who are responsible will be fined depending on the extent of damage to the environment.If gross negligence is found against individuals, it can be transformed into criminal charges after investigations are done.They can be taken to task depending on whoever was responsible,” Shifeta said.Rail inspection is one of the conditions stipulated in the Environmental Plan.When environmental officers arrived at the scene of the derailment, TransNamib was already busy rehabilitating the area, he said.

Transportation - Rail
July 11, 2015 Ebenezer, Saskatchewan Twelve homes were evacuated Friday after a CN train derailed just north of Yorkton.A dozen rail cars jumped the tracks near Ebenezer, Sask. around 1:50 p.m. Four of the cars were carrying liquid sulfur; seven were carrying cement, and one was empty.A CN Rail spokesperson told CTV News that some liquid sulfur leaked.No one was injured, according to RCMP, but a dozen homes were evacuated as a precautionary measure.Residents were allowed back in their homes late Friday evening.Some roads were blocked in the area as CN police investigated.Crews were still cleaning the spill and repairing the track on Saturday. A CN spokesperson expected the track to re-open later in the day.

July 15, 2015
The cleanup of a train wreck that occurred in the tiny village of Ebenezer July 10 will take another two to three weeks to complete.  Ray Miller, Ebenezer fire chief and council member, explained that tanker cars containing molten sulphur had to be left at the scene so the contents can cool and solidify before CN can cut the tanks open and remove the product. He likened the tankers to large thermoses; the sulphur is transported in a liquid form at approximately 290 degrees Fahrenheit for ease of transfer.  The company has security guards manning the site 24 hours a day.  When the train derailed at approximately 1:50 p.m. Friday, some of the molten sulphur leaked into the ditch beside the tracks and into a nearby slough. Yorkton fire chief Trevor Morrisey confirmed that three cars containing sulphur were punctured and leaked.  The RCMP evacuated a dozen nearby homes while firefighters from Ebenezer, Rhein and Yorkton contained the spill by building up a berm around the area.  The villagers were allowed back into their homes later Friday evening.  CN is reporting minimal environmental impact, but village officials are expecting to have a meeting with the province’s Water Security Agency this week to further assess the situation.  According to an eyewitness, there was a grinding sound just before one of the cars jumped the track causing 11 more to pile up behind it. Seven of the 12 derailed cars contained cement, four were carrying liquid sulphur and one was empty.  CN crews worked through the night and Saturday to replace the section of track that was damaged in the wreck.  Miller said the company has been very good about keeping the village informed about what is going on, but the accident has opened his eyes to the potential hazards that are passing through the town every day.  “It could have been a lot worse,” he said.  Aside from the ongoing cleanup, Miller said things are back to normal.  “Everybody is cool, nobody’s upset,” he said. “I think people were quite pleased with the way we handled it.”  He added that the Rhein and Yorkton fire departments provided “fantastic support.”
Transportation - Road
July 10, 2015 Beulah, North Dakota North Dakota Transportation Department officials have closed state Highway 49 near Beulah due to the crash of a semitrailer hauling sulfuric acid. Highway Patrol Lt. Tom Iverson says acid spilled in the ditch about 4 miles south of Beulah. He says it's unknown how much spilled and if there's any environmental damage.  The unidentified driver was taken to a Hazen hospital with unknown injuries. No other vehicles were involved, and it's unclear what led to the crash.  Iverson says the highway likely will be closed for some time as hazardous material crews clean up the spill.
Fire June 30, 2015 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia A Halifax fire division commander says the public was not in danger when a fire broke out at the former Imperial Oil refinery in Dartmouth Tuesday night.Chuck Bezanson says crews were called around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday to deal with an "elemental sulphur pile" that was burning on the grounds. An elemental sulphur pile is produced as a byproduct of refining oil and natural gas.Bezanson says the sun dried out the pile and it ignited.He says there was no danger to the surrounding neighbourhood.Four fire crews responded to the call and by 9:45 p.m. The fire was extinguished more than an hour later.  Imperial Oil closed the Pleasant Street refinery and converted it into a marine terminal in 2013.
Exposure June 20, 2015 Kuala Lumpur

A Chinese national suffered severe burns all over his body after he was splashed with sulfuric acid, following a tank explosion at a fertiliser factory in Port Klang.  Selangor Fire and Rescue Department operations director Mohd Sani Harul said the 40-year-old man was working near the tank which was in operation at the time, at about 4pm Saturday, when it suddenly exploded and spewed acid all over.  The man was covered in the corrosive acid from the neck down and suffered severe burns.  “Our officers rushed there to clean the acid off him with a water hose. He was half conscious at the time and is in very critical condition,” Mohd Sani said.  The man was rushed to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital. The Fire Department is trying to contact the factory supervisor to ascertain what could have caused the explosion.

Exposure June 15, 2015 North Lincolnshire AN incident at an oil refinery "could have been avoided" had hazards been identified which led to a worker needing skin grafts.  The firm in question, Total Lindsey Oil refinery in North Lincolnshire, was fined for the incident involving molten sulphur.  Tanker driver Jack Vickers was loading the dangerous substance from his vehicle and was detaching the lance from a loading arm when he slipped.  After pulling his leg out of the 140 degree molten sulphur, Mr Vickers needed extensive skin grafts.  The Health and Safety Executive told the court that there were no safety practices in place concerning the manway, and potential hazards had not been identified and dealt with.  Total Lindsey Oil Refinery, was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £2,641 in costs with a victim surcharge of £120.  HSE inspector Jayne Towey said: "Mr Vickers sustained extremely painful injuries, which still affect him now. Yet this incident could have been avoided if Total had identified the dangers associated with attaching and detaching the loading lance and then taken action to reduce those risks.  "Loading molten sulphur is a common task within the refining industry. Total had two other loading units on site with a different system whereby a loading lance does not have to be attached to the loading arm."
Spill May 30, 2015 Maryland City, Maryland

Hundreds are briefly told to stay indoors after a sulfuric acid leak in Anne Arundel County.  It happened around 9 a.m. Saturday in the 3500 block of Whiskey Bottom Road in Maryland City.  Police say a hazmat team was called after a 45-foot trailer delivering totes of sulfuric acid leaked.

The leak was contained to the property, authorities said.  More than 500 residents were briefly told to shelter-in-place as a precaution.  The order was lifted around 10:30 a.m

May 29, 2015 Port Arthur, Texas

A bulk carrier loaded with a cargo of sulfur ran aground offshore Port Arthur, Texas, on Wednesday.  Jian Qiang (46,807 dwt, built 1996), owned by China’s Cosco, was outward bound from Neches Industrial park in Beaumont, Texas, when it ran hard aground.  US Coast Guard (USCG) responded to a call at approximately 1.30pm and were quickly on the scene. They were co-ordinating with the ship’s owners, the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to find a way to release the vessel.  The 615-foot ship was still stuck as of late Wednesday night but there were no significant reports of damage, injury or pollution.  USCG are investigating the cause of the accident.

May 21, 2015 Modimolle, South Africa Police are investigating a case against officials who responded to the accident scene where a truck carrying sulphuric acid overturned on Saturday, May 16.  The truck carrying 28,000 litres of sulphuric acid was on its way to Zimbabwe.  DA leader for Limpopo, Jacques Smalle claims that the disaster management units arrived at the scene four hours after the toxic spill.  CCTV footage in the video above shows how disaster management officials then proceeded to clean up the spill by using water from a fire department truck to spray the acid into the Nyl River.  The DA has laid criminal charges against the heads of disaster management of the Modimolle and Waterberg municipalities, and the Waterberg fire chief for not complying with regulations in section 28 of the National Environment Act of 1998.  The environmental damage to the river has been extensive as locals have been warned not to drink the water or use it for farming.  Fish in the river have died and the national Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation has described the pollution as "very serious".  The pollution has been neutralised with a treatment of lime, to reduce the level of acidity, but further treatment is still needed.  Warrant officer James Findlay, spokesperson for the Modimolle police, said the charges laid are specifically “failure to comply with directive to cease activity and to rehabilitate the environment /contravene and fail to comply with conditions of the authorisation”.  Affidavits have not yet been obtained, said Findlay.  “The investigating officer will obtain statements from the three involved early next week.”  Findlay says this is an unusual case for Modimolle police.  “I’ve been here over 20 years and if I’m not mistaken most of our big truck accidents, like with petrol trucks, happen on the highway and don’t go into the water,” he said.  Smalle told eNCA.com that they are relieved that the national water affairs department is dealing with the issue.  However, the DA plans to watch the clean-up process closely.  “We will compile a comprehensive analysis report and present it at the Limpopo legislature so we can monitor ongoing process,” said Smalle.

Modimolle farmers in Limpopo have suspended farming activities after a sulphuric acid spill contaminated the Nyl River last weekend.A truck carrying sulphuric acid overturned in the town and acid spilled into the river. Water Affairs officials are busy with clean-up operations.
The Nyl River is the source of water for farmers in the Modimolle area. Water Affairs officials were busy working where the truck overturned at corner Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela Streets last weekend.  They were using wheelbarrows to carry lime to the river to neutralise the acid. The scene was cordoned off. Officials refused to talk about the clean-up operations and referred all enquiries to their National Office.  Modimolle farmers are blaming the Waterberg District Municipality for the incident. Local farmer Johan Abrie says they have suspended all ploughing activities. Fish and other water species have died.  Abrie alleges that the municipality did not prevent the acid from spilling into the river. "Sulphuric acid spilled onto a tar road, what happened is instead of covering it and building a buffer zone so it cannot enter the river, the municipality, against every law in the book, took hoses to wash down into the Nyl River.  That is the most inhumanly possible thing they could have done. So instead of following international regulations and protocol how to treat this thing, the municipality decided to wash it into the river."  Waterberg District Municipal Manager, Sam Mabotja says the spill is a Water Affairs matter. The Water Affairs Department could not be reached for comment.  Meanwhile, retired Zoologist, Professor Koos Prinsloo, says the sulphuric acid that polluted the Nyl River is a danger to environment and its natural species.  He says delays in treating the polluted water will have negative effects on the ecological system. "Sulphuric acid is difficult chemical it comes in contact with water certain reaction start take place.  Some very serious toxic substances are formed. It is definitely affecting the plants, it is going to affect millions of macrobiotic in the water that play a very important role in keeping ecological balance."
Spill May 20, 2015 Dickerson
Montgomery County

More than 300 gallons of sulphuric acid were spilled in an accident at a power plant in Montgomery County on Wednesday, injuring one worker.  County fire and rescue service spokesman Pete Piringer said that the worker was not seriously injured and had been decontaminated after the acid splashed onto him.  Piringer said that workers were moving a container of the acid at a loading dock at an energy substation on Martinsburg Road in Dickerson. They accidentally spilled the caustic substance, he said.

May 11, 2015 Bijoux Falls Provincial Park
Eight train cars carrying sulphur derailed near Mackenzie on a railway crossing Highway 97 South at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday night, a Canadian National Rail Co. spokesperson has confirmed.Drive BC has indicated that Highway 97 will be blocked in both directions until further notice near Bijoux Falls Provincial Park.There were no injuries reported and the cause of the derailment is under investigation, CN said.Pierre Boivin, senior manager of stakeholder relations with CN Rail, told the Alaska Highway News Sunday night that the eight cars involved in the derailment were all carrying sulphur."The cars are upright and there are no indications that there is any spill or any environmental impacts," Boivin said.CN crews will work through the night to clear the crossing "as soon as possible," Boivin added, but he did not know how long it would take. "At this point all we know is that Highway 97 is blocked," Boivin explained. "Our crews are en route. As soon as they arrive they are going to work to clear the crossing."It's unclear at this time where the train originated from, or where it was headed.
April 20, 2015 Birmingham, Alabama

About 22 homes were evacuated from a north Birmingham neighborhood while crews moved a semi-truck carrying hazardous material that got stuck around midnight.  The semi-truck, which was carrying 3,000 gallons of sulfuric acie, was trying to navigate through a neighborhood when it hit a curve and jackknifed on a narrow street around midnight, according to EMA officials.  Police blocked off the area and evacuated people in the Fairmont community on 40th Avenue North near Lewisburg Road, off of Daniel Payne Drive and near Carver High School.  Birmingham police told residents that if the sulfuric acid mixed with water, it could possibly blow up.  A hazmat crew with Birmingham Fire Department responded to the scene as a precaution.  None of the sulfuric acid has spilled from the truck, according to Jody Hodge with the Jefferson County EMA. He says the truck driver is also OK and no one was injured.  The truck was turned upright and moved from the area where it got stuck by 8 a.m.  Residents who were evacuated say this isn't the first time a semi-truck has been stuck in their neighborhood.  “No it's not, it's happened before, we didn't have to be evacuated, they were able to get the truck up, but semis come through here all the time and turn over,” Sophia Holloway said.  “We've gone to talk to different people about getting some assistance with stopping these trucks from coming through here. We don't want this to happen. We don't want this neighborhood to blow up because of this type situation,” Holloway added.  Holloway explained that the semi-trucks often miss their exit off 41st Avenue and go to Fultondale to turn around, and the GPS routes the trucks through her neighborhood.  “Once they turn around, they come through the neighborhoods and there's really no room for them to maneuver in there,” she said.  Hodge said he believed the truck driver was trying to get to a truck stop in the area and the GPS took him a roundabout way. He said the driver turned on a narrow street and jackknifed.  “Some of these streets are very narrow, have sharp curves, and you know, with an 18-wheeler, it just happened," Hodge said.  He said about 10 families chose to not evacuate and shelter in place.

The Red Cross had a shelter on standby, but it was never opened.  Police will determine when residents are allowed to return to their homes.

Spill March 8, 2015 Krasnodar Territory

At the Tihoretsk station of the North Caucasus Railway in Krasnodar Territory, sulfuric acid has leaked from a holding tank, the press service of the Ministry of Emergency Measures of the Russian Federation in the region reported.  The leak occurred last night about 21:20 Moscow time in the park "B" of Tikhoretsk station, Interfax cites the report.

March 8, 2015 Salt Lake City, Utah

Sue Turley and Raquel Sever received a phone call Tuesday they never expected. They learned their sister's husband, Joshua Schade, had been in a terrible accident on the job.  "We really don't know exactly what happened at this point," Sever said.  Although the investigation is ongoing, they do know some of the details. Their brother-in-law was transporting sulfuric acid for Basin Western Trucking Company to Delta on Tuesday. When he went to unload it, something went horribly wrong.  "It poured all the way down his body, from his head all the way down," Turley said.  They said first responders took him to a hospital for decontamination, then he was flown to University Hospital's burn center.  Schade has already undergone one skin graft surgery with more planned.  "They keep reminding (my sister) he's in very critical condition and they don't want to give her the impression that he's definitely going to make it home," Turley said.  Turley said Schade began the job only a few weeks ago and was excited because the schedule allowed him to spend more time with his family. Now they're hoping the 29-year-old father will get that time.  "We're just trying to be hopeful and have faith that he'll make it," Sever said.  "My sister has said so many times she doesn't care what he looks like," added Turley. "She doesn't want him in pain, and she just wants to have her husband."  "Everyone is hoping and praying for Josh and his family at this time," said Lloyd Dean, a spokesman for Western Basin Trucking Company.  Dean said the company is conducting its own investigation to determine what happened.

Environmental - Release February 18, 2015 India

Days after leakage of sulphur dioxide caused suffocation to workers and people residing in the area, Tamil Nadu Chemical Products Ltd, a factory manufacturing dyeing substance, in Kovilur was today ordered to be closed down by the state pollution control board.  Three school children had fainted upon inhaling sulphur dioxide from the factory on February 12. The leak also caused suffocation to factory workers and people living around.  On inspection of the 35-year-old factory, officials of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board found that main units had not been maintained properly leading to the gas leakage.  The chairman of the board ordered closure of the factory, the officials said.

February 10, 2015 Corpus Christi

Crews were busy cleaning up a sulfur pellet spill Tuesday morning.  It happened in the area of Suntide and Up River Road.  A private contractor was taking prilled sulfur from the Flint Hills West Plant to the bulk terminal, when a portion of the load spilled from the truck onto the roadway.  According to a spokeswoman from Flint Hills, clean-up crews were called in to sweep up the material.  Because the sulphur was in pellet form, it was not hazardous and no streets had to be closed.  The chemical is commonly stored outdoors and is used in fertilizer.


February 8, 2015 Ndola, Zambia

PEOPLE who depend on Chililabombwe’s Lubengele stream for water have been left stranded after a tanker delivering sulphuric acid to KCM overturned on Friday, spilling its contents into the stream. Chililabombwe Municipal Council health inspectors confirmed the development. “Lubengele Stream is important because many families get their water from there. This is a serious threat and something must be done before the whole stream is contaminated,” the officers warned. The inspectors said Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company obtained water samples to determine the amount of acid in the stream. They said immediate measures had been put in place to stop the spillage but that the council and Mulonga Water would carry out further investigations. And Abrahman Yessus, the owner of the tanker, explained that the driver failed to control the vehicle which fell on the road, causing the spillage. “Around 06:00 hours, I received a call that my tanker carrying sulphuric acid for delivery at KCM had an accident. What happened was that the driver lost control because he was going uphill and the tanker fell on the road. There are no injuries and with the help of KCM, we have managed to control the sulphuric acid by putting lime,” said Yessus.

Transportation January 31, 2015 Richmond Hill, Ontario

A train derailment in Richmond Hill has closed Elgin Mills East Road between Yonge Street and Newkirk Road.  Two cars on a southbound CN Rail train partially derailed at around noon on Saturday according to CN and York Regional Police.  One was carrying steel, the other was carrying sulphuric acid. No one was injured and no material leaked, officials said.  The cause is under investigation. 

January 24, 2015 New Zealand

A truck has spilled 500 litres of toxic acid near Feilding today.  The truck lost its load of sulfuric acid on Awahuri-Feilding road about 12.15pm, and roadblocks were put up while the chemical was cleared.  Greg Bevin, Horizons team leader consent monitoring, said the acid was at 70 per cent concentration.  It was contained in a dry roadside drain and there was no threat to waterways or public safety, he said.  A Horizon's environmental protection officer was assisting the Fire Service.

January 21, 2015 Tennessee, USA

A tanker carrying 48,000 gallons of sulfuric acid overturned on Interstate 24 near mile marker 23 on the eastbound side, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The accident happened at about 11 a.m. on Wednesday.  One eastbound lane has been reopened, according to dispatch. Westbound traffic remains unaffected. The Tennessee Department of Transportation doesn't expect the wreck to be cleared until 5 p.m.  The driver has been identified as Calvin L. Morgan, 67, of Turtletown. He was injured in the wreck, but was not taken to the hospital, according to the preliminary THP report.  Morgan was driving eastbound on I-24 when his truck's left front tire exited the roadway into the median. He overcorrected and lost control of the vehicle. The trailer disconnected from the truck and came to rest in the median. The truck crossed both lanes of eastbound traffic and crashed into several trees along the right shoulder, according to the report.  Hazmat crews were dispatched to the scene when the call came in, dispatch confirmed.  None of the acid was spilled in the accident, according to THP.  Morgan was charged with having an expired medical card and other charges are pending, authorities say.