Firefighters tackle chemical spill
HOUSEHOLDERS were advised to stay indoors and keep their windows shut following a chemical scare in a country town.Local residents were alerted by police just before 1am yesterday after a leak of hydrochloric acid was discovered in the chemical store at the Grampian Country Food poultry processing factory in Magdalen Street, Eye.
By David Green
HOUSEHOLDERS were advised to stay indoors and keep their windows shut following a chemical scare in a country town.
Local residents were alerted by police just before 1am yesterday after a leak of hydrochloric acid was discovered in the chemical store at the Grampian Country Food poultry processing factory in Magdalen Street, Eye.
There were initial concerns that toxic fumes could drift towards a residential area.
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However, police officers returned to the same homes an hour later to give the all-clear after the incident had been dealt with by the firm's staff and fire crews.
Crews from Eye, Stowmarket and Needham Market were sent to the scene after the firm reported discovery of a leak in a 25-litre container of the acid - used to clean premises where many thousands of chickens are slaughtered and processed each week.
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Eight firefighters wore breathing apparatus in order to safely enter and work in the spill area.
About 4,000 litres of water was used to dilute the acid as a precaution – to reduce risks to personnel and to minimise damage to the environment if any of the liquid escaped into a ditch connected to the River Dove.
However, Alistair Cox, company spokesman, said the leak was contained on site within bunds designed for such a purpose.
This was confirmed by the Environment Agency which said there had been no off-site impact from the spill.
Mr Cox said: "It was a very small leak. The fire brigade was informed purely as a precaution."
Rita Penman, Environment Agency spokeswoman, said: "The area was well bunded and very little acid was actually spilled. The container had split and it was put into a larger vessel and taken away for disposal."
She added: "With the use of the water the acid became so diluted that even if it had reached the ditch it would not have been a problem."