Wednesday 18 January 2017

Evacuations after ammonia leak at plant in Tauranga, New Zealand.

A number of properties have been evacuated after a 'significant' amount of ammonia leaked from a cold storage plant in the Mt Maunganui district of Tauranga, on North Island, New Zealand. Emergency services were called to the site at about 1.20 pm local time on Wednesday 18 January 2016, and set up an 800 m exclusion zone around the site. One worker at the refrigeration plant was treated for minor burns.

Emergency service vehicles attending the 18 January 2017 Mt Maunganui ammonia spill. Sunlive.

Ammonia is used in a wide variety of industries, but usually in a diluted form. Anhydrous ammonia (ammonia without any water) is both toxic and corrosive, though injuries from ammonia are rare even in incidents such as this where large volumes are spilled, as ammonia has a strong and extremely unpleasant smell that people tend to retreat from rapidly (to the extent that people are more often injured trying to escape the smell than directly by the ammonia.

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