Sunday 6 January 2019

Cleanup operation after acid spill at Malaysian technology park.

Specialist cleanup teams had to be deployed after about 500 litres of Nitric Acid was spilt during a delivery to a company making computer components on the Cheng Technology Park in Jalan Kubu in Malacca State, Peninsula Malaysia. The incident happened slightly before 8.00 pm local time on Friday 4 January 2019, resulting in a pool of acid covering about 10 square meters. The area was cordoned off by emergency services until a specialist cleanup team from the Melaka Fire and Rescue Department arrived. It took about four hours to tackle the spill by adding sodium carbonate (powdered limestone) to neutralise the acid then cleaning up the resultant mess.

A hazardous materials team from the Maleka Fire and Rescue Department attending an acid spill at a technology park on 4 January 2018. Rasul Ali Samud/New Straits Times.

Nitric Acid is a colourless but extremely strong smelling liquid, it is highly corrosive and acts as an oxidising agent. Exposure to the skin can cause severe chemical burns, and inhaling the vapour can result in severe respiratory problems. Calcium Carbonate will react with Nitric Acid to produce Carbon Dioxide, Water and Calcium Nitrate (an largely inert white powder that absorbs water), so Nitric Acid spills can be tackled by adding Calcium Carbonate until the reaction stops fizzing, then clearing up the end product, a mixture of Calcium Nitrate, Calcium Carbonate and Water.

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