Corrosive Chemical Cleaned from Escondido Horse Arena

Second phase of clean-up still underway


A cleanup crew has entered phase two of a massive clean-up effort in Escondido after 20,000 gallons of sodium hydroxide spilled from a water filtration plant Monday afternoon.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. on Monday, a breach in one of the tanks caused the corrosive chemical to spill from a water filtration plant in the 3400 block of Valley Pkwy on by Dixon Lake, according to authorities.

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.

On Tuesday, the City of Escondido reported that the NRC Environmental Services began to remove the sodium hydroxide that was released into the containment area, as well as the removal of the remaining solution left in the failed tanks.

Phase one of the clean-up has been completed. The second phase involves removing some of chemical that spilled down a hillside by the Charros Horse Arena. Crews will have to remove dirt and plants from the area affected by the spill.

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.

An image of the tank with the breach is pictured right.

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.

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