Progress After Acid Leak

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
Evacuees return home after derailment acid leak

police car graphic

VERNON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- About 35 central Michigan residents returned home after being evacuated following the derailment of a rail car carrying hydrochloric acid, and monitoring of air and water samples have found no ongoing health concerns from the leak, officials said Saturday.
All evacuees were able to return home by 9 p.m. Friday night, said Courtney Herrick, emergency preparedness coordinator for the Shiawassee County Health Department. No injuries were reported.
"We are very happy that everyone was able to get back in their homes last night," she said.
Air and water samples were "coming back very well," she said. "From the health department's perspective, things are going very well."
Canadian National Railway spokesman Patrick Waldron said 12 cars came off the tracks about 7 p.m. Thursday near Durand, about 20 miles southwest of Flint in central Michigan. Among them was a tanker car carrying 20,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid, and Herrick said a contractor working in the cleanup effort estimated 1,000 to 1,500 gallons leaked from the car.
Hydrochloric acid can burn the skin and its fumes can irritate lungs, safety officials have said.
Waldron said the hydrochloric acid was being transferred Saturday from two other derailed tanker cars to tanker trucks, a process that was expected to be completed Sunday.
He also said the damaged tracks had been repaired and reopened by Friday night. The remaining derailed cars were off to the side of the tracks, Waldron said.
Canadian National and federal railroad authorities were investigating to determine the cause of the derailment.
The train, which Waldron said had two crew members, was heading from Battle Creek to a Canadian National yard in Flat Rock when the cars derailed.

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