Fire department: Nitric acid spill in Minneapolis contained

March 01, 2019 06:48 PM

Crews were able to contain a nitric acid spill in Minneapolis Friday morning.

According to the Minneapolis Fire Department, the spill took place along the 3100 block of East Hennepin Avenue where Hawkins Inc is located.

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The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency estimated the spill to be around 2,100 gallons. 

A stretch of Hennepin Avenue near the scene was temporarily closed as a result of the spill.

The fire department, MPCA and the Minneapolis Public Works department were "working to mitigate product that got into storm drains," according to the fire department.

Minneapolis Assitant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said about 600-700 gallons of nitric acid spilled into the storm drain system. The rest was contained in the facility.

The MPCA confirmed the cause of the spill was a value on a tank that got knocked open. Spokesperson Walker Smith said the cold temperatures helped to also keep the chemical contained in the storm sewer system.

"Because there's no water in the storm sewer system, nothing got flushed into the Mississippi River which is really good news," Smith said.

Crews have responded to the location before, Tyner said.

Rich Erstad, vice president of Hawkins Inc, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the containment area near the tank had a leak. The MPCA is investigating the incident.

Crews were working to clean up the spill, and mainly to neutralize the nitric acid in the facility, but Tyner said there was no health safety risk to anyone.

Nitric acid is highly corosive and is often used to make fertilizer. Erstad said the company makes and distributes the chemical.

Watch part of Tyner's press conference on the spill below:

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Rebecca Omastiak

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