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40 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled at Rhode Island plant

A pump valve malfunctioned on a tanker truck delivering acid to ChemArt in Lincoln.

About 40 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled at ChemArt Company based in Lincoln, R.I. David Marquis, the company president, said the spill was "routine" and was cleaned up within an hour using 1,300 gallons of water.
About 40 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled at ChemArt Company based in Lincoln, R.I. David Marquis, the company president, said the spill was "routine" and was cleaned up within an hour using 1,300 gallons of water.Carlos Muñoz

LINCOLN, R.I. — David Marquis, president of ChemArt Company, says only 40 gallons of hydrochloric acid — not 100 gallons, as previously reported — spilled after a pump valve failed inside a containment area.

The spill happened at about 8:40 a.m. Monday when a regularly scheduled delivery of acid was taking place at the Lincoln manufacturing facility at 15 New England Way. The building was evacuated and the Woonsocket Hazmat response team and the North Providence Decontamination team were called to assist, according to Gail Mastrati, a Department of Environmental Management spokeswoman.

“If something is going on the alarm goes on and we evacuate,” Marquis said. “The first thing we do is make sure everyone is safe. It was a cautionary measure. At no time was anyone’s health or the community’s health or the environment in danger.”

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There were no injuries and no off-site impacts, Mastrati said. The spill was cleaned up within an hour.

A preliminary estimate had the spill at 100 gallons, but a DEM inspection determined that it was approximately 40 gallons. About 1,300 gallons of water were used to dilute the acid.

“It kind of got blown out of proportion,” Marquis said. “They (Hazmat) responded. We did everything right. It was self contained.”

“Ultimately, they allowed us to clean it up,” he added.

Emergency services were at ChemArt from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., Marquis said.

The material was pumped into totes and the residual materials were cleaned up. It will be sent for disposal as waste.

The company makes metal ornaments for Christmas and holidays. The acid is part of their manufacturing process to prep the metal.


Carlos Muñoz can be reached at carlos.munoz@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ReadCarlos.