Sulfuric Acid Leak at Alexandria Plant

By Tim Persinko and Melissa Mollet
|  Wednesday, Apr 27, 2011  |  Updated 8:11 AM EDT
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Sulfuric Acid Leak at Alexandria Plant

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A hazardous material team was called to the GenOn power plant in Alexandria Wednesday morning.

Fire officials said that a 5,000 gallon tank of sulfuric acid had sprung a leak.

The acid spilled out into a collection pan directly below the tank, so that the spill was contained.  In total, 1,300 gallons of acid ran out of the tank into the pan.

Alexandria fire officials said that the leak posed no threat to the public, because the acid was not fuming into the air.  Streets surrounding the plant, located on the Potomac River, had initially been closed, but by sunrise all roads were reopened.

According to the plant, the acid tank is used to recycle waste produced by the coal-burning power generating facility.  A private contractor was on the way Wednesday morning to collect the spilled acid.

Some local residents have campaigned for the energy plant's closure over the years, saying it was putting unhealthy exhaust into the air.  A report released in March by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, associated with the CDC, found that air across Northern Virginia had elevated levels of fine particulate matter, which could be harmful to Alexandria residents.

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