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1.4 tonnes of toxic chemical found leaking in Spreyton transported back to west coast mine

Pulse Tasmania
1.4 tonnes of toxic chemical to be buried on west coast. Image / Stock

Around 1.4 tonnes of the highly toxic chemical sodium hydrosulfite, which was leaking at a waste management facility in Tasmania’s north, has been transported to the state’s west coast.

Emergency services say the leak, uncovered in a drum at the Veolia Waste Management plant in Spreyton on Tuesday night, was unable to be contained.

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“To be safe to everybody we’ve shut the area … off and the greater proximity of 600 metres around the area,” Tasmania Fire Service District Officer Mark Brownrigg said on Wednesday afternoon.

“The danger is inhalation … [the chemical is] quite stable in itself but at the moment it’s reacting to moisture and causing a gas to come off … The gas is toxic to humans and the environment.”

1.4 tonnes of toxic chemical to be buried on west coast. Image / 7 Tasmania

The container holding the chemical was loaded onto a low-loader truck and transported under the supervision of the Tasmanian Fire Service and Tasmania Police back to the Savage River Mine where it originated from.

Brownrigg said the Environmental Protection Authority will oversee the burial of the drums once the material arrives back on the coast.

1.4 tonnes of toxic chemical to be buried on west coast. Image / WIN

The 600-metre exclusion zone around the waste management facility, which affected a dozen houses and an industrial area in the town, was lifted on Wednesday afternoon.

Nearby residents were earlier advised to close all doors, windows and vents and to turn off air conditioners until the threat had passed.

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