UPDATE: Acid spills in dump truck, 8 crews come to clean-up

A MIXTURE of hydrochloric acid and garbage in the back of a dumpster truck caused chaos in Gunalda.

Emergency crews in hazmat suits and masks were called to the chemical leak on Wednesday morning, taking almost five hours to clean up the hazard.

The dumpster truck driver discovered one of his collection bins contained hydrochloric acid, which had spilled in the truck at the Gunalda Waste Management Facity on Balkin St.

While the front lift waste collection truck was emptying the bins at the site, the driver noticed cloudy vapours from the bin as it was tipped into the truck. 

A Queensland Fire Emergency Service spokeswoman told the Chronicle the illegally disposed acid chemical reacted with the truck and other garbage which was collected on the run.

A patient was taken to Gympie Hospital in a stable condition after inhaling the toxic chemical. Fire crews worked to make the area safe and were able to combat the hazardous mess with chemicals from a local pool shop.

"Our scientific team attended, and our crews were in special suits and breathing apparatuses," the spokeswoman said.

"The action they did was neutralise the chemical using another agent, so it wasn't a risk anymore.:

Crews were notified of the leak shortly after the discovery about 8am Wednesday.

Eight fire trucks, including urban and rural fire trucks were on the scene and left by early afternoon.

A Gympie Regional Council spokeswoman said it was unlikely the source of the acid could be identified, due to the fact that such acids are readily available from most hardware stores.

"This incident is particularly disappointing as council had just run one of it twice yearly free chemical collection days on the 10 June with the next one scheduled in the second last Saturday in November," the spokeswoman said.

"While actual incidents are rare, the potential for them to occur is significant as despite signage warning of this danger, containers of various chemicals are often left illegally at waste facilities."



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