No risk to public health after chemical spill in Lynchburg

The Lynchburg Fire Department has added 16 new recruits to its ranks.
The Lynchburg Fire Department has added 16 new recruits to its ranks.(WDBJ)
Published: May. 13, 2023 at 1:22 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ/LFD Release) - The Lynchburg Fire Marshal’s Office has been monitoring a release of a chemical from a holding tank at Cathcart Rail (formerly Buncher Rail Car Service) on Hydro Street that has been producing noxious odors in the area for the past several weeks, according to the Lynchburg Fire Department.

April 3, LFD responded to a call about a chemical smell near downtown; the smell was traced to the business on Hydro Street. A follow-up visit from the Fire Marshal this past week identified the source as a tank containing about 2200 gallons of ethyl acrylate, which is used in the production of resins, plastics and rubber materials, according to LFD.

LFD further says the tank has produced a very slow leak, which has been contained in the immediate area. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management was notified, as well the Department of Environmental Quality. Both are working with the company on a cleanup process, which is expected to get underway this coming week, says LFD.

Ethyl acrylate is a flammable liquid with a particularly acrid odor, according to fire crews. While residents in the Rivermont and downtown areas may notice a strong chemical smell, “there is NO risk to the public health from this leak.”

The Fire Marshal’s Office reports it will continue to monitor the situation until it is resolved.