Sulphuric acid from derailed train bombed with lime

SULPHURIC acid spill after a train derailed about 20kms east of Julia Creek in north Queensland is now being treated with lime.

Queensland police said a detailed assessment of the site into the is expected to commence later today. The freight train was carrying more than 800,000 litres of acid, of which more than 30,000 has spilled.

Wet weather had been delaying access to the site however due to lower than expected rainfall yesterday, crews have been able to construct two easements, allowing access to the site.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) have advised that one causeway is constructed from limestone on a plastic mesh and geofabric base while the other is pallets on plastic mesh.

Two EHP staff have been on site conducting environmental sampling at eight sites including seven sites on nearby Horse Creek and one site on Julia Creek.

As a result of the water quality in Horse Creek being affected by acid release and an expectation of further rainfall, a decision has been made to treat the sulphuric acid on the ground and in Horse Creek with lime.

A helicopter will be used to deposit limestone on the site to neutralise acid that is leaking. 

The aerial application of lime will commence Thursday morning and sand bags will be filled with lime and placed across Horse Creek to treat flows already in the creek.

An emergency declaration and two kilometre exclusion zone remains in place under the Public Safety Preservation Act to assist emergency services manage the scene, which includes the construction of a safe structure to allow salvage crews access to the crash site.

The Flinders Highway remains closed in both directions between Julia Creek and Richmond as a result of flooding and the exclusion zone.

It is anticipated that the exclusion zone will be in place for least another 48 hours.