Section of Interstate 70 Shut Down by Truck Leaking Hydrochloric Acid

by Duane Nichols on July 23, 2013

Truck Leaking Acid

Section of I-70 shut down because of acid leaking

From Mary Pickels, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 22, 2013

A leak from a tanker carrying water mixed with hydrochloric acid residue prompted officials to close a stretch of Interstate 70 near Smithton for more than four hours on Sunday.

Authorities reported no injuries from the incident. Traffic backups on the busy highway reached 3 miles, however.  “You really hate to shut down 70. Under the circumstances, the driver being under that bridge, we had no choice,” Turkeytown fire Chief Larry Nemec said.

A motorist spotted a leaking valve on a Halliburton tanker at the intersection of I-70 and Fitzhenry Road about 11:45 a.m. and called 911, said Dan Stevens, spokesman for the Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety.  As a precaution, crews halted east- and westbound traffic and diverted it onto Routes 51 and 31.

The county Hazardous Materials Response Team, multiple fire departments and Department of Environmental Protection officials responded to the scene.  John Poister, DEP spokesman, said the tanker was carrying 100 gallons of water with hydrochloric acid residue.  

The driver told him that he was headed to the Halliburton location in Homer City.  “He said the tanker had been washed out at a well site,” Nemec said.  

“The remaining contents of the tanker have been transferred to a backup transport. Halliburton has notified all appropriate authorities, and our driver implemented emergency response actions,” Stafford said.

 “It could cause damage to paint on vehicles,” Stevens said. Direct contact would be required for the acid to cause harm to individuals, Steven said.  Hazmat crews cleaned the spill with absorbent pads to prevent further runoff. The stretch of highway between exits 46 and 51 reopened in both directions by 4:15 p.m. By then, many motorists found themselves on unfamiliar roadways.


4,700 Gallons Of Acid Spill At Bradford County Drilling Site

From Article By Scott Detrow, July 5, 2012 

There’s been another accident at a northeastern Pennsylvania drilling site: 4,700 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled at a Leroy Township, Bradford County well pad operated by Chief Oil and Gas on Wednesday

The spill comes two weeks after a thirty-foot methane geyser erupted near a Shell natural gas well in nearby Union Township, Tioga County. Leroy is the same township where a Chesapeake Energy well suffered a 10,000-gallon fracking fluid blowout in 2011.

The Department of Environmental Protection is placing preliminary blame on a valve failure. “The acid breached containment and flowed off the well pad,” emailed DEP spokesman Dan Spadoni. “Some of the acid was collected in a sedimentation pond, while the remainder flowed through a field and some reached a small tributary to Towanda Creek causing a minor fish kill. Dams were constructed in the tributary before any acid reached Towanda Creek.”

In a statement, Chief spokeswoman Kristi Gittins said the majority of the acid stayed on the well pad. She estimated up to 800 gallons flowed beyond the drilling site. Canton Fire Chief Kim Jennings, who also helped lead the cleanup of the Shell methane geyser, says the spill is now under control.

Update: here’s a statement from Chief Oil and Gas:

An HCL release of about 4,700 gallons occurred near 1 pm on July 4 at the Yoder well site in Leroy Twp, Bradford Co. The release was discovered by personnel on site. DEP and the Bradford County EMS were notified and response measures were implemented. It is important to note that the majority of the release, around 4,000 gallons was held to the initial containment area on the pad site. All pad sites are lined with a thick plastic so any inadvertent release of fluids can be remedied at the pad site. About 700-800 gallons left the initial containment area and traveled into a sediment pond, which is designed as an additional safety measure to contain any runoff from the pad site. Appx 50 gallons left the sediment pond but appears to have remained localized to a small plunge pool next to the sediment pond.


 Hydrochloric acid leaks in Jefferson Hills

From Article in Pittsburgh Post Gazette, February 23, 2010 

No one was injured when about 660 gallons of hydrochloric acid leaked from a 6,000 gallon storage tank at the Marathon Petroleum Co. Floreffe tank farm in Jefferson Hills and into the ground under a secondary containment area. 

According to Marathon spokesman Robert Calmus. the leak occurred from a pump on the tank over a 48-hour period prior to Monday afternoon when it was discovered by employees. He said the spill was fully contained on the facility property and the surrounding community was unaffected.

The 20 percent hydrochloric acid solution is used as an emulsifier of petroleum products used in the manufacture of asphalt at the facility, formerly owned by Ashland Oil, where a tank holding 3.5 million gallons of diesel oil collapsed in January 1988, spilling 700,000 gallons into the Monongahela River.

Katherine Gresh, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said none of the acid was visible on the surface of the ground and there is no indication any flowed into the Monongahela River.


 Chesapeake Energy Hydrochloric Acid Spill

Article from The Marcellus Effect Blog, December 7, 2009 

Today the Pennsylvania DEP announced that they have fined Chesapeake Appalachia LLC and Schlumberger Technology Corp. $15,557 each for a 295-gallon hydrochloric acid spill at Chesapeake’s Chancellor well site in Asylum Township, Bradford County. 

“Fortunately, this hazardous waste spill was promptly reported, which proved critical in limiting the environmental damage,” DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell told the press. Here is the information DEP released today:

Chesapeake staff notified DEP on February 9 that a 21,000-gallon tank containing 36 percent HCl was leaking. The acid was used for hydraulic fracturing. When a DEP inspector arrived at the site, it was determined that the tank had two leaks and was losing about 7.5 gallons per hour of hydrochloric acid.

About 126 tons of contaminated soil had to be excavated, and more than 13,800 gallons of a hydrochloric acid and water mixture were removed from the well site.

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