STX Cistern Water--...
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STX Cistern Water--Acid Spill


Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 523
September 21, 2010 1:40 pm  

Is anybody pressure washing their roof and dumping their cistern water due to the Hovensa acid spill? What a mess!

"Environmental officials found no trace of the chemicals in the air, but Sheen urged people not to drink cistern water from rooftops as a precaution. The cause of the leak was not clear.

Health Commissioner Julia Sheen says Hovensa officials reported a low-concentration leak of light vacuum gas oil and hydrogen sulfide that lasted for 20 minutes Sunday before being contained."

Advanced Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 113
September 21, 2010 3:07 pm  

From what I read it was oil, not acid; the cistern warning was for housing areas near Hess.
However, I live near Salt River and there was something on my windshield that I now believe was a light spray of oil. It would not come off with washer fluid, only soap and water.

Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 876
September 21, 2010 3:18 pm  

Hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air and highly toxic. A mixture of H2S and air is explosive. YIKES!

Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 956
September 21, 2010 5:21 pm  

Anyone know exactly where the area affected would be? We bleach and filter (non uv but sediment and fridge filter) our cistern water and have had no issues in the years we've been here doing so. We give it to our 1 year old and my pregnant wife also drinks it. But this is kind of scary given that my wife is 5.5 weeks away from giving birth and all.


Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2596
September 22, 2010 1:17 am  

Is this why the air is so cloudy?

Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8864
September 22, 2010 12:16 pm  

i think the air is cloudy from the desert dust

Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 615
September 22, 2010 11:26 pm  

The hydrogen sulfide was not an issue even for first responders - just wasn't enough of it and it doesn't hang around long so no worries there. The release was vacuum gas oil - it's a heavy distillate sort of like heavy diesel fuel. I wouldn't want to drink it or have it on any of my property like any hydrocarbon but it apparently isn't enough to panic the Dept. of Health if they're saying people in the affected areas can still bathe in affected cistern water - just don't drink it (which I wouldn't do with cistern water to begin with.) It's an annoyance that shouldn't happen but does from time-to-time (something similar happened in Clifton Hills a couple of years ago I think.) The oil comes off any surface with dishwashing soap (e.g., Dawn) but obviously that's not the way to handle it if it gets in your cistern.

The affected areas were primary Ginger Thomas, Strawberry, and Strawberry Hill.

Initially I thought the cloudiness in the air was from Saharan dust but it seems to be mostly coming from the south so maybe Montserrat ash?

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