News & Media

Tartaric acid spill in Hallam

By: Alex Batty

Category: Incidents - Vehicle / Rescue / Hazmat

  4.52 PM 4 February, 2014


Location: District 8 News

Views: 5123

Only six minutes after being commissioned, Hallam's new Heavy Hazmat (Hazardous Materials) vehicle responded to a significant chemical spill at Wedgewood Road in Hallam first thing yesterday morning.

On Monday 3 February 2014 at 0806 hours Hallam Fire Brigade was responded to a chemical spill in Wedgewood Drive in Hallam. Ironically, the new Heavy HAZMAT had only been commissioned some 6 minutes before the call was received.

Initial response was Hallam Pumper, Hallam HAZMAT and Hampton Park Pumper. Shortly after arrival Incident Controller SSO Greg Chapman requested that Dandenong HAZMAT Detection Vehicle, State Duty Scientific Officer, Police, Ambulance Victoria and the RDO were also requested to attend this incident.

Firefighters wearing splash suits and breathing apparatus were able to determine the chemical spill to involve 32 compromised 20lt containers filled with a combination of hydrogen peroxide and tartaric acid. The leak had spilt out across an area of approximately 5 x 8 m within the area of origin. Upon arrival firefighters were faced with a white chemical cloud like vapour within the factory and obvious signs of a corrosive chemical reaction throughout the affected area.

Fortunately with the introduction of the new Heavy HAZMAT appliance, the Brigade was able to quickly deploy its inflatable fire service decontamination shower and support shelter before the initial splash suit wearers entered the contaminated area.

A rotation of approximately 20 Firefighters in splash suits used a combination of prosorb and dry sand as a means to break the chemical reaction of the products and stored the contaminated wasted in to a number of oversized recovery drums.

Whilst the cause for the reaction is still yet to be determined, the EPA have placed a dangerous good order on the batch of chemicals in question for further testing.

In all, appliances from Dandenong, Officer, Hampton Park, Springvale and the Casey Group FOV were responded to this incident. The incident saw a multi-agency approach including representatives from EPA and Work Safe to manage and safely clean up the spill which took approximately 8 hours to fully contain.

Last Updated: 06 February 2014