Hazmat Crews Respond to Spill in Escondido Water Treatment Plant

Escondido crews responded to major spill Monday afternoon

By Lauren Steussy and Monica Garske
|  Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012  |  Updated 7:20 PM PDT
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20,000 Gallons of Hazardous Material Spilled

NBCSanDiego

Emergency crews responded to a hazardous material spill at this Escondido water treatment facility Monday.

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Emergency crews responded to a large hazardous material spill at an Escondido water treatment plant Monday afternoon.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. on Monday, tank failure caused 20,000 gallons of a 20-percent solution of sodium hydroxide to spill from a water filtration plant in the 3400 block of Valley Pkwy on by Dixon Lake, according to authorities.

Hazmat teams arrived to the plant on Monday afternoon at about 4 p.m., according to the Escondido Fire Deparment.

At about 5 p.m., the Hazmat crews entered the plant to evaluate the extent of the spill. According to authorities, the liquid had traveled down a paved roadway and then onto a dirt area where it was contained. Images from the scene showed a large cavity in one of the plant's storage tanks, pictured right.

The plant is located near a preschool and the Escondido Humane Society. Officials said the spill did not affect the city’s drinking water supply in any way. There were no injuries reported, and no need for evacuation of the surrounding area. The substance did not spill into the reservoir.

Sodium hydroxide – also known as “caustic soda” -- is a corrosive chemical which can cause severe burns if it comes in contact with skin, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

The Hazmat teams were assisted by the Escondido Police and Fire Departments. The two are working together to develop a remediation plan for the affected area, according to the city of Escondido.

On Tuesday, the City of Escondido reported that a company called NRC Environmental Services had come into water treatment plant to remove the approximately 20,000 gallons of sodium hydroxide that was released into the containment area, as well as the removal of the remaining solution left in the failed tanks.

The clean-up work is expected to be completed by Wednesday.

The cause of the failure that caused this massive spill has yet to be determined, according to the City of Escondido.

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