Mystery drum marked ‘hydrochloric acid’ washes up on a NSW beach forcing swimmers out of the water – but it turns out to be full of OIL
- Large drum marked for hydrochloric acid washed up on Newcastle Beach
- Authorities have no idea where it came from – but it had oil in it not acid
- Newcastle Beach shut for three hours on Sunday as hazmat crews removed it
A drum thought to contain hydrochloric acid washed up on Newcastle Beach on Sunday forcing emergency closure – but was actually full of oil.
NSW Fire and Rescue crews were called just after midday when the large drum was found on the sand at Newcastle’s main city beach, 168km north of Sydney.
The busy beach was promptly closed, and people were ordered out of the water.
A 200m exclusion zone was set up and emergency services closed Shortland Esplanade which provides access to Newcastle Beach.
NSW Fire and Rescue hazardous materials team siphons off the liquid from the 1000 litre drum marked for hydrochloric acid into the safe orange plastic bins. It turned out to be oil
Emergency services set up a 200m exclusion zone as hazardous materials crews opened the giant 1000 litre drum which was marked as having hydrochloric acid.
Once it was open, they discovered it was full of oil instead, the Newcastle Herald reported.
‘While the origin of the drum remains unknown, the area has now been made safe, and the beach has now been reopened to the public as of 3.30pm this afternoon,’ NSW Fire and Rescue wrote on their website.
NSW Fire and Rescue decanted the liquid into large orange barrels before removing it.
The 1000-litre drum still had markings on its side that indicated the contents were hydrochloric acid.
Hydrochloric acid is an industrial chemical often used to clean concrete and ‘pickle’ rusted steel before it is processed further such as by rolling or galvanising.
However the drum was full of oil instead, and as the lid was intact, emergency services do not think any of the liquid escaped into the sea.
A 200m exclusion zone was set up on the busy city beach as the hazmat crews worked
Busy Newcastle Beach seen from the air. The popular beach is the main beach for the city of Newcastle, 168km north of Sydney
Marine Rescue NSW warned boaties to stay out of waterways as recent floods have washed large amounts of debris down rivers and into the sea where they pose a hazard both floating and submerged.
Deputy Commissioner Alex Barrell told reporters that debris could include large trees, dead animals, caravans and garden sheds.
‘Striking large debris will not only damage your boat but also risks throwing those on board into the water,’ Marine Rescue wrote on its Facebook page.
‘These are not safe conditions for boating. Please stay safe and give it a miss today.’