Over 30,000 liters of sulfuric acid leaked in Australian train crash, cargo totaled 819,000 liters
A freight train that derailed near the northeast Australian town of Julia Creek has reportedly leaked up to 31,500 liters of sulfuric acid, while Queensland Police have sharply revised the amount of toxic substance it was hauling upward.
The massive leak, which contaminated land in northwest Queensland after a train with 26 cars fell off the tracks some 20 kilometers from Julia Creek on Sunday, was reported by ABC News Brisbane.
Train with 200,000 liters of sulphuric acid derails in Australia (pic by @JessMillward9) https://t.co/1MFNFrN5Cwpic.twitter.com/ngVS39vIuT— RT (@RT_com) December 27, 2015
Meanwhile, local police have announced that the estimated amount of acid carried by the train totals about 819,000 liters – more than four times the original estimate of 200,000. Police and local authorities have assured the public that only “one” of the tanker cars has ruptured and there is no danger to the local population.
“No other ruptured carriages have been identified as leaking at this stage,” Queensland Police said in a statement.
Police revise amount of sulfuric acid freight train was carrying when it derailed near Julia Creek. https://t.co/wZEi1qBozj— QPS Media Unit (@QPSmedia) December 29, 2015
2 kilometre exclusion zone remains around Julia Creek train derailment following sulphuric acid spill. Pic @QPSmediapic.twitter.com/oLKDtD1kQH— Peter Doherty (@PeterDoherty7) December 28, 2015
A two-kilometer exclusion zone remains in place around the crash site, as is the locally declared state of emergency.
Given the amount of acid leaked, it is not clear how much time the cleanup will take. Originally, authorities estimated that a week would be needed.
Additionally, efforts could be hampered by weather, as flooding has hit the area since a tropical cyclone began affecting northern Australia. It is also feared that heavy rains could further spread the acid, which has already leaked into a bore drain in which the derailed train ended up.