A Grupo México facility in the port of Guaymas, Sonora, spilled 3,000 liters of sulfuric acid into the Gulf of California on Tuesday afternoon.
The accident happened when a flange connecting two hoses broke as ships were being loaded with the acid. Port employees described seeing a column of white smoke near the leak.
Abraham Larios Velazquez, a port administrator, said the spill started at 1:48pm when a valve failed, possibly because of high temperatures, during an equipment test. Two minutes later, Grupo México employees closed the valves and started pumping the acid back into the tanks, but not before some of the acid flowed into the sea.
Grupo México, the country’s biggest mining company, said three 1,000-liter tanks of acid were emptied during the spill. The Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) will investigate the spill and determine what impact the accident could have on the environment.
Navy personnel arrived at 2:01 to evaluate the damage, and the company began clean-up measures at 2:05.
No one was injured in the accident.
In 2014, a Grupo México subsidiary in Sonora was responsible for a spill of 40,000 cubic meters of copper sulphate acid solution that contaminated waterways and was described as one of the worst environmental disasters in Mexican history.
Source: El Universal (sp)