Birmingham & Black Country

Hydrochloric acid tank collapses in Willenhall

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Media captionAcid tank collapses at factory

A tank containing hydrochloric acid has collapsed at a West Midlands factory.

The tank at Watery Lane Industrial Estate, Willenhall, contained an estimated 35,000 litres of the corrosive mixture, which was diluted.

About 40 people were evacuated from the premises involved and most sent home. It is not yet known how much of the tank's contents has leaked.

The Environment Agency is investigating a spill that has entered Waddens Brook, a tributary of the River Tame.

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A Severn Trent Water spokeswoman said investigations were being carried out as to whether acid had entered the sewers, but confirmed the general water supply was not affected.

The fire service has said its immediate priority was to manage the flow of acid and how it was dispersing to stop it entering the drains and water system.

It said it believed the premises specialised in galvanising and the immediate site had been cordoned off.

Image copyright West Midlands Fire Service
Image caption The fire service said crews were at the factory and adding lime to a brook to neutralise acid
Image copyright West Midlands Fire Service
Image caption Acid entered Waddens Brook, the fire service said

No-one is believed to have been hurt and the cause of the collapse was yet to be determined, the service said.

Staff from nearby factories were earlier asked to stay indoors and close windows.

Lime has been used to neutralise the acid and this "has to be done in a slow and controlled way", the fire service said earlier.

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