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Local

UPDATE – Batavia: Fermilab firefighters respond to sulfuric acid leak

Authorities say contained spill poses no environmental threat

Area fire departments are helping contain a sulfuric acid leak at Fermilab in Batavia on July 9, characterized as posing no threat to the public.
Area fire departments are helping contain a sulfuric acid leak at Fermilab in Batavia on July 9, characterized as posing no threat to the public.

BATAVIA – A 400-gallon tank with sulfuric acid for water treatment at Fermilab sprang a leak at about 2:30 p.m. July 9 and was slowly leaking acid, according to a press release from the national accelerator laboratory in Batavia.

"[Fermilab's] fire department is there and they’re working on containing it," said Deb Sebastian of the office of communication at Fermilab. "It’s not a dangerous situation. No one was injured. No one is in danger."

An employee responsible for the system noticed the leak and informed the Fermilab Fire Department, according to the release, which stated the tank is located at the Fermilab Central Utility Building.

That site is in a remote spot and no traffic needed to be rerouted, Sebastian said.

Fermilab requested support from local fire departments to contain the leak and monitor the situation, the release stated, going on to describe sulfuric acid as corrosive and a common chemical used in many processes.

At about 6 p.m., Fermilab announced that fire department hazardous-material personnel successfully stopped the pinhole-sized leak of sulfuric acid from the tank. A hazardous-material contractor is at the site to remove the acid remaining in the tank and clean up the area where the leak occurred, according to the release, which stated there was no environmental impact.

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