Train derailment in Queensland spills over 30,000 litres of sulphuric acid near Julia Creek

By @vitthernandez on
Queendland Train Derailment
The derailed train was carrying 819,000 litres of sulphuric acid. Queensland Police

The derailment on Sunday of the Aurizon train, which had about 819,000 litres of sulphuric acid, could possibly affect water of the nearby Julia Creek. All of the train’s 26 carriages derailed that caused one of the carriages to rupture and spill more than 30,000 litres of the acid.

The train left Townsville, an east coast port city, and was headed for Phosphate Hill, 1,000 kilometres inland, when the accident occurred, according to Aurizon. Initial reports state the train was carrying only 200,000 litres of acid.

Reuters reports that the Queensland Police, said in a statement that when the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection tested the nearby Julia Creek, the acid spill has not affected the waterway. As a result of the train accident, Queensland authorities placed declared an emergency and created a two-kilometre exclusion zone for 48 hours, reports ABC.

Because of the exclusion zone and the flood in the area, the Flinders Highway is closed from both directions between Julia Creek and Richmond. Queensland Rail has deployed an on-track vehicle to assist with the delivery of resources to the site, the railway’s spokesman said.

However, Queensland Rail crew could not yet access the spill site or assess the extent of the damage to the track caused by the derailment. The initial estimate to clean the spill was one week, but the timeframe is still unclear. Engineers are investigating what went wrong and if floodwaters are to blame for the accident.

Miners, who use sulphuric acid to separate and clean some minerals, would have their operations disrupted by the accident since it have been cutting production volumes because of weak commodities prices. For Aurizon, which owns the derailed train, it would further place pressure on the hauling company that issued a profit warning as the year closed due to the downturn in volume of coal shipments, resulting in shareprices of Aurizon to go down.