Ruptured rail car in Herington dumps sulfuric acid in creek

01/09/2012 5:00 AM

01/09/2012 12:04 PM

Workers were busy Monday cleaning up 11,000 gallons of sulfuric acid that leaked into Lime Creek in Herington on Sunday after a Union Pacific rail car’s tank ruptured, authorities said.

Residents have been warned to avoid using the creek for recreational or drinking water. In addition, ranchers who use the creek for watering cattle downstream have been alerted, said Chancy Smith, director of Dickinson County Emergency Management.

Union Pacific was moving cars around in the rail yard about 5 p.m. Sunday, when two cars bumped each other hard enough that a tank containing the sulfuric acid on one of the cars ruptured, Smith said.

The chemical flowed down the tracks, went across a dirt road and into a ditch, which dumped it in the creek. Workers dammed up the ditch but not before a large quantity reached the creek, Smith said.

The area affected is U.S. 56 north to Avenue 1000. It’s expected to take several days to clean up the spill, Smith said.

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