Interesting calls - November 2013

Leaking roof at metal recycling plant

Water from a leaking roof at a metal recycling plant had found its way into some drums that contained magnesium offcuts. The affected drums were gassing off and the caller was concerned about the contents of the fumes and whether there was a fire risk from the metal.

Our Emergency Responder advised that the fumes coming from the drums could contain hydrogen, metal fumes, residues from any coatings inside the drum and steam. The caller was also warned that the reaction between the metal and water would produce flammable hydrogen and was provided with auto-ignition temperatures for hydrogen and magnesium. Our Emergency Responder provided the caller with details of hazardous waste contractors that could help make the site safe.

Our Emergency Responders will provide advice to not only assist with the initial incident, but will also advise on further actions required to safely close an incident.

Container falls from vehicle and leaks contents on road

NCEC recently received a call from a fire officer who was dealing with an incident where the contents from a drum had leaked across a road. It was thought the drum had fallen from a vehicle and the spill was approximately 200 litres. The Fire Service detection, identification and monitoring (DIM) team had identified the leaking substance as diisobutyl phthalate.

Our Emergency Responder advised the caller that the spilt material could be absorbed using an inert absorbent and the spent absorbent collected into suitable containers for disposal. The Emergency Responder confirmed that suitable personal protective equipment for the crews carrying out the clean-up would be breathing apparatus, gloves, boots and fire kit. The caller was made aware of the hazards of the substance and further precautions that could be taken to protect people and the environment.

Immediate access to qualified and experienced chemists ensures that incidents are dealt with efficiently and safely, while protecting the Emergency Services, the public and the environment.

LPG leak at a petrol station

NCEC recently received a call regarding a car that was leaking liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) at a petrol station. The fire service had pushed the car away from the pumps and confirmed that the LPG was leaking at a slow rate. The caller was using gas monitoring equipment and had established that the gas concentration in the area around the tank was at 30% of the lower explosive limit.

Our Emergency Responder gave the caller advice on the hazards of LPG and discussed options for dealing with the leaking tank. The Emergency Responder also suggested that other agencies be informed of the leak as it was likely to continue for some time and provided the caller with the contact details for the appropriate agencies.

Our Emergency Responders draw on their in-depth chemical knowledge and experience to enable callers to consider all of the factors involved in an incident.