Clean-up of spilled lye continues at Norfolk business

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on August 13, 2014 at 6:24 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 14 at 12:48 PM

Hazmat Norfolk

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8/14 UPDATE: The U.S. Coast Guard is at the scene monitoring the situation; however, the river closure safety zone was rescinded yesterday at 9 p.m., officials told WVEC.com.
Kinder Morgan officials said employees are still working on transferring the product from the damaged tank to another one. "We expect the cleanup and restoration process to take approximately 24-48 hours, as of yesterday evening," said Melissa Ruiz.
The original tank was leaking on one side; the product spilled, about 150 gallons, is fully contained on site, she added, so the company doesn't expect any impacts to the community or environment.

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NORFOLK -- The Regional Hazardous Materials Team will be working most of the day to contain and clean up a spill at a Norfolk business. Officials stress "there is no direct risk to the Berkeley Community at this time." 

One westbound lane is closed in 1000 block of Indian River Road to stage equipment. Expect traffic delays in this area throughout the day.

Firefighters were called to Kinder Morgan Norfolk terminals at 1000 Lansing Street just before 6 a.m. after employees reported a chemical spilling from a tank on the property.

Norfolk Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Julian Williamson said a tank that holds about 900,000 gallons of sodium hydroxide, known as lye or caustic soda, was leaking. 

Kinder Morgan will be transferring the chemical from the leaking tank to another tank on site.

Company officials told WVEC.com that a bulge in the insulation of a storage tank while workers were conducting a facility inspection.

A small volume of the product had leaked around the tank, which is completely contained on site with no impacts or threatened impacts to nearby waterways, officials said in the statement to WVEC.com.

An earthen berm surrounds the tank and has contained the leaking lye, officials noted.

A neighboring business, Luck Stone, has been evacuated as a precaution, as has parts of Colonna Shipyard that are adjacent to the tanks, according to a City of Norfolk tweet.

#norfolkVA Due to a hazmat spill, a westbound lane in the 1000 block of Indian River Road is closed. Expect... http://t.co/ZyFP9dbmWP

According to the company's Web site, there are 11 tanks on Kinder Morgan's 16-acre site on the eastern branch of the Elizabeth River. The company handles chemicals and ethanol.

Authorities tell us crews are bringing sand in in case it's needed to absorb the spilled chemical.

Police blocked off east and westbound lanes in the 500 block of E. Indian River Road through the morning rush hour.

Norfolk Fire/Rescue Va. Dept. of Emergency Management and Stormwater is supporting Kinder Morgan. Coast Guard pollution responders will work with the agencies to assess the situation, implement plans to contain any potential leakage and insure the safe unloading of the sodium hydroxide to additional containers. 

An investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the leak. 

Stay with 13News Now and WVEC.com for the latest developments.

 

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