Sulfuric acid spilled into Shenango River

Staff report


State and local officials investigated a sulfuric-acid spill at Wheatland Tube in Sharon early Thursday.

A storage tank containing a 12 percent sulfuric-acid solution had ruptured, according to a report from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

“The solution overflowed secondary containment, flowed out of the building and across the parking lot in a storm drain and was discharged into a drainage ditch,” according to the report.

The ditch flows into an unnamed tributary and then to the Shenango River about a quarter-mile downstream.

“An estimated 5,000 gallons of the solution was released with an undetermined amount reaching the ditch,” according to the DEP report.

The emergency-response team noticed that there were some dead fish where the river and the tributary meet, according to the report.

“The next available downstream location was checked; no dead fish were observed, and the pH was similar to upstream locations above the impacted area.

“It was surmised that the dead fish were from the tributary and washed into the Shenango River, and the spill had minimal impact on the Shenango River,” according to the report.

The river is used as a source of drinking water.

Wheatland Tube notified the nearly downstream water supplier, which is Pennsylvania-America Water Co. in New Castle. Wheatland Tube began spill-control measures and contacted a company to clean up the spill.

Dams where in place in the ditch to retain the solution, and vacuum trucks were being used to remove the spill from the ditch, according to the report.

In addition, lime was being used to neutralize the acid.

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