Acid, Diesel Spill in SC Train Spill

Friday, January 30, 2015 @ 05:01 PM gHale


Trains carrying dangerous elements like crude oil or chemicals have safety officials across the country fearing one day a car will derail in their neck of the woods.

One of those fears came to life Tuesday morning as 19,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid and acid solutions spilled from rail cars damaged during a train wreck in rural Allendale County, SC.

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The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) identified a sheen of contaminants on lower Three Runs Creek near the accident site, and clean up efforts are under way.

Booms to soak up pollutants are in place in the Lower Three Runs and in the Savannah River where the smaller creek flows into, DHEC said.

In addition to hydrochloric acid, up to 100 gallons of sodium hydroxide and 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled in the train crash, DHEC said. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is among the departments on the scene to help with the cleanup and assessment of damage.

“EPA and DHEC staff will also be monitoring the waterways downstream of the incident to identify any potential environmental threats that may result from the spilled chemicals,’’ DHEC officials said.

The Allendale County accident occurred when a moving CSX locomotive diverted from a main track and onto a side track leading to the Archroma chemical plant. The plant ended up evacuated. The conductor and engineer suffered injuries in the crash, although they walked away from the accident scene.

Hydrochloric acid is a hazardous air pollutant. It is in a variety of chemical processes, including metallurgical processing and hydrogen production, according to the EPA. It is corrosive to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes, the EPA said.



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