Acid leak never a threat
AN ACID leak at Leongatha’s Murray Goulburn factory caused quite a stir on Wednesday, but the company advises that most of the concern was external.
Murray Goulburn site manager Gavin Russell downplayed speculation that both staff and the building itself were in danger.
Nitric acid, which is used for cleaning, leaked from a flange in a pressurised supply line.
Once the acid seeped out of the pipe it sprayed a small amount on the steam pipes which then vaporised to form an orangey white cloud.
“We immediately isolated the line, breathing apparatus’ were used and the area was washed down,” said Gavin Russell.
“To be absolutely safe we notified the fire brigade.
The area was cordoned off, but Mr Russell reported that only two staff members work in the area at any one time, so there was no significant cost in loss of
The site manager also mentioned that there were false reports from the episode, which he was quick to set straight.
“There have been a number of reports that people were treated at the scene, and that’s not true.
“There were also reports that the whole factory was shut down and that was not the case.”
Leongatha CFA captain Andy Kay was quick to support Mr Russell’s opinion, saying the chance of any danger was quite remote.
“There was a very, very, very slight chance of an explosion. That was the ultimate worst case scenario,” he said.
Emergency services were quickly on the scene, with two police cars and one ambulance arriving amidst a host of CFA units.
Three Leongatha and Ruby trucks were complemented by a hazmat brigade from Wonthaggi and Morwell which arrived with a gas detection unit from Dandenong.
A Traralgon Breathing Apparatus team arrived as well as a scientific officer from the Environment Protection Authority.
Despite the mad rush of emergency vehicles and police blocking traffic, no one was ever in danger.
Mr Russell noted that Murray Goulburn have quite an extensive preventative program, and said that it was not a normal incident.
“It was very strange, because it was on a join underneath, it was very hard to detect. The program would normally identify such a leak,” the site manager said.
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