Bay City News

3 Train Cars Carrying Sulfuric Acid That Derailed in Martinez Haven't Leaked Contents: Hazmat Crews

Three train cars that derailed under a highway in Martinez Wednesday contained sulfuric acid but did not leak their contents, county hazardous materials officials said.

Matt Kaufmann, assistant director of the Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials department, said the trio of tanker cars derailed under Highway 680 near Marina Vista Avenue at about 8 a.m.

County hazmat crews responded and determined the tankers were not leaking their sulfuric acid contents, Kaufmann said.

The hazmat team remained at the scene late Wednesday morning and is working with Union Pacific, the company that owns the railway. Officials at Union Pacific were not immediately available to comment.

Kaufmann said Union Pacific is trying to get equipment on scene that can upright the tanker cars and get them back on the track.

"And with any operation of that sort, there are safety concerns," Kaufmann said. "We're there to make sure it's done in the safest way possible."

Sulfuric acid is a corrosive liquid that's primarily a contact hazard, Kaufmann explained, meaning it's a health risk when it touches skin. In large concentrations, it can also become an inhalation hazard.

Kaufmann said it's not likely that Wednesday morning's situation would result in that type of hazard, although crews are monitoring the air at the scene. 

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