Global Processing

Emergency warning system activated following chemical spill

February 20, 2012

PORTLAND, Australia — Residents of Portland, Australia, were warned to stay indoors and the port was closed Sunday after hundreds of tons of superheated liquid chemical spilled into the main wharf, theage.com.au reported.

The chemical — a bituminous substance known as liquid tar pitch — is used in the production of aluminum at Alcoa''s plant nearby.

The chemical spill occurred when an outlet pipe from a 3,000-ton steel container failed about 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Emergency authorities, fearing a toxic cloud could envelop the town and its bay, activated an automatic telephone warning system yesterday morning to advise almost 10,000 residents to close windows and doors and stay inside, the article stated.