Acid Leak near Curtis Bay Forces People to Shelter in Place

An acid leak at an industrial plant in the Curtis Bay area of Southwest Baltimore prompted warnings for residents and workers nearby to shelter in place on Monday.

A cloud of chlorosulfonic acid leaked through a valve at Solvay Industries, on Fairfield Road just a few blocks from the Fort McHenry Channel in the Patapsco River.

The acid was being transferred from a tanker to a trailer, according to the Baltimore City Fire Department.

The Baltimore Office of Emergency Management urged people in the 21060, 21225, and 21226 zip codes to shelter in place, close windows, and limit their time outside. Emergency alerts went out to cell phones from the Inner Harbor, all the way to Annapolis.

A Baltimore Fire Hazmat team was able to shut off the valve, and after waiting an hour for the acid cloud to dissipate, officials gave the “all clear” for people to return to normal activities.

The National Institutes of Health says that chlorosulfonic acid is “a colorless to yellow colored fuming liquid with a pungent odor,” “causes severe burns,” and is “very toxic by inhalation.”

There were no reported injuries.

Bay Bulletin reached out to a couple of environmental groups, which are still trying to determine whether there could have been any more far-reaching impacts to the waterfront environment at the site of the leak.