SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitoring
27, Abdul Khader Street, Manjakuppam, Cuddalore 607 001
Date: 10 February 2005
Adv. T. Mohan
Chairperson, Cuddalore Local Area Environment Committee
No. 11, III Avenue, Besant Nagar
Chennai 600 090
Copy: Chairperson, SCMC (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr. Claude Alvares, Member SCMC (email@example.com)
Member Secretary, Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board, Chennai
District Environmental Engineer, TNPCB, Cuddalore District
Sub: Leak of Hydrochloric Acid from a tanker of M/s Tagros Chemicals (P) Ltd in SIPCOT Cuddalore
On 7 February 2005, about 600 litres of Hydrochloric Acid spilled from a tanker parked on the north service road of Tagros Chemicals in SIPCOT Cuddalore. The incident took place at about 1 pm outside the company when the wheel of the tanker loaded with the chemical gave way and the acid leaked into the surrounding area. The Company failed to report the incident to the Pollution Control Board. The matter was notified to the PCB by way of a complaint by a resident of Pachaiyankuppam. On receiving the complaint, the PCB ordered sprinkling of sodium bicarbonate (to neutralise the effects of the acid).
SACEM members visited the site on 8 February 2005 at about 2 pm and found several patches of acid on the ground and a strong acid odour. SACEM members contacted the PCB, and on receiving the second complaint the PCB ordered containment of the soil from the site. By day's end, five barrels of soil (each barrel of 200 kg capacity) were filled and stored inside the factory.
On its second visit to the site on 9 February 2005 at around 4 pm, SACEM monitors found out that the area was still being dug up and the soil was being loaded on a tractor (vehicle no - TN 31 A 3976). Upon contacting the PCB the SACEM members were told that though the soil was being collected in a tractor it would be stored in barrels inside the factory.
In the given context we would like to know the following from the PCB:
- What is the action taken on the Company and the tanker contractor for not informing the authorities about the leak?
- What was the off-site emergency plan put in action by the Company once the leak took place?
- What was the quantity of soil contained from the site?
- What was the scientific protocol adopted while cleaning up the site?
- Were there any soil samples taken by the Company or the PCB to ascertain the impact of the acid? If so what do the results tell?
- What steps are being taken to ensure the other tankers are safe and not prone to such accidents either outside the factory or on the roads?