Chemical spill at Picton Railyard

Picton and Blenheim Volunteer Fire Brigade attend the scene of a chemical spill at the Picton Railway Yards
Picton and Blenheim Volunteer Fire Brigade attend the scene of a chemical spill at the Picton Railway Yards

Fire brigades from Picton, Blenheim and Nelson attended a chemical spill in a shipping container at the Picton Railyard this morning.

Picton Volunteer Fire Brigade station officer Steve McKeown said the shipping container was carrying 12 1000 litre containers of hydrochloric acid, acetic acid and another chemical used for cleaning dairy equipment.

One of the 1000 litre containers of hydrochloric acid developed a leak through its top and lost about 10 litres of the chemical.

''It was a minor spill. It just leaked over the floor in the container and out of the door which was how it was noticed,'' Mr McKeown said.

Attendance by the three brigades was normal procedure when dealing with a chemical spill, he said.

The Picton and Blenheim fire brigades spent about three hours on site using a Port Marlborough forklift to unload the containers, locate the leaking container, and clean the spill up.

The Nelson brigade brought in extra equipment and replaced the Picton brigade's splash suits.

''We don't deal with chemical spills that much considering how much stuff goes through Picton,'' Mr McKeown said.

The fire brigade members were all trained in dealing with hazardous substances and were told what chemicals were inside the container before they opened it up, he said.

''There was no concern about any of the acids mixing. It was just one of those incidents where you have got to take your time and work through the procedures.''

The shipping container had been packed very well so it was unusual one of the containers inside had sprung a leak.

''We're not sure what happened. Maybe it just got knocked,'' Mr McKeown said.

The Marlborough Express