The Maryland Department of the Environment responded to a chemical leak Friday morning in Hawkins Point but said it will have no impact on surrounding areas.
State officials responded around 7 a.m. to a W.R. Grace and Company facility at 5500 Chemical Road, where around 50 to 75 gallons of nitric acid had leaked from a valve on a truck, according to an environment department spokesperson. The truck was inside a containment area and the chemicals leaked into that area, but did not spill outside of it, the spokesperson confirmed.
By around 9 a.m., the area was deemed safe, said Councilwoman Phylicia Porter, whose district includes Hawkins Point.
In a Twitter thread just before 11 a.m., Porter urged people to share the news so that others could follow “the necessary precautions.”
Speaking with The Banner in the afternoon, Porter said she tried to take a “proactive stance” on the leak, “given the environmental issues that are existing within Curtis Bay.”
“So my office kind of took lead on that, so the residents of Curtis Bay can be rest assured that my office is managing the situation wholeheartedly,” she said.
Soda ash was used to neutralize the chemicals that leaked into the containment area, and the truck was taken to a wastewater treatment plant at the facility so that the remaining chemicals could be neutralized, according to MDE.
In a statement, a spokesperson for W.R. Grace & Co. said along with local authorities, they had “quickly and safety addressed the incident.”
“There has been no harm to our employees, contractors, the surrounding community or the environment. We are taking all proper measures to investigate its cause,” the spokesperson added.
In a Friday statement, the Community of Curtis Bay Association said the leak is “just the latest in a never-ending series of incidents that jeopardize the health and safety of our community.”
It “adds to a cumulative burden of environmental injustice that our community faces on a daily basis,” leaders of the community association wrote.
In December 2021, a CSX coal terminal in Curtis Bay exploded, rattling houses and sending a plume of coal dust into the community. In March 2022, a Petroleum Management Inc. facility in the neighborhood caught fire and left an employee dead.
The statement implored state leaders to declare an air pollution emergency in Curtis Bay and Brooklyn, and demanded their concerns be taken seriously.