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Freight Train Derailment - Sulphuric Acid Leaks Into Local Waterway

Julia creek contamination

Residents of Julia Creek are fearing the worst after a freight train derailment spilt up to 31,500 litres of Sulphuric Acid.

The 26 wagon train, carrying more than 800,000 litres of sulphuric acid, fell off the tracks 20 kilometres east of Julia Creek on Sunday 27 December.

Emergency Services had difficulty reaching the site due to long awaited rain and flooding within the region. Therefore, the extent of the damage is still unknown at this stage.

The state government confirmed that acid had seeped into the local waterway. Emergency Services Minister Bill Byrne said the acid had washed downstream from Horse Creek near the site of the derailment. The authorities said they were looking at ways to neutralise the acid found in that contaminated area while they continue to monitor water quality in the area.

To help prevent further damage, helicopters distributed limestone to neutralise the acid and sandbags are being used to dam the wreckage.

The train owned by Aurizon, does trips similar to this between Townsville Port and Phosphate Hill four times a week.

Aurizon and Queensland Rail are working closely with authorities and the local community to resolve this issue quickly. Queensland Rail organised an on track vehicle to provide supplies to the site and town. Due to the flooding in the area, other rail tracks and roads are preventing access to the town.

An exclusion zone around the site was expected to be lifted on Saturday 3 January and the Flinders Highway was reopened with new speed limits in place. Residents have been urged to monitor their water supplies in the area, until the investigation is complete.

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Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: January 4, 2016.

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