Chemical spill drama at Brook Street roundabout

A FLAMMABLE chemical spilling from an overturned lorry at Brook Street roundabout has leaked into the water system.

The tanker carrying 20,000 litres of a detergent called linear alkyl benzene spilled its entire load at the busy junction when it toppled over on Tuesday September 21, around 11am, at the M25 junction with the A12.

It meant the gateway to Brentwood, including Brook Street, and the junctions with the London-bound A12 slip road, and M25, were shut off to traffic for at least five-and-a-half hours while emergency crews worked at the scene.

Two fire crews from Brentwood, a rescue tender from Harlow and a specialist foam appliance from Stansted attended to clear the spillage and lift the vehicle upright.

Divisional Officer Mark Samuels, said: “Linear alkyl benzene is flammable, but has a high flash-point. We laid out two foam jet branches to be safe as the vehicle was righted then put chemsorb grains on the road to soak the last of the chemical up.”

Police closed the area while they identified the fluid and assessed the danger.

The detergent wasn’t hazardous but Environment Agency officers were drafted in because the fluid started seeping into the River Ingrebourne.

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Dave Eppy, an environment management team leader said: “Some of the chemical entered into the River Ingrebourne via the drains and it could be seen on the surface of the river as an oily sheen. We put absorbent booms in the river to try to trap and absorb as much of the substance as possible. However, high flows in the river after heavy rainfall overnight meant that some of it would have escaped the boom and washed away.

“At this stage there are no obvious signs of environmental damage, but we did find two ducks that had been affected and we contacted the RSPCA. We will continue to monitor the river and assess any impact.”

The driver of the lorry, a 30-year-old man, was treated by ambulance crews and taken to Queen’s Hospital but his injuries were not believed to be serious.

Brook Street was reopened just after 4.30pm and the remainder of the roundabout about 5.15pm.

Further hold-ups were caused at Brook Street roundabout Wednesday morning by a crash between a car and a lorry.

The black Audi A4 and red HGV crashed about 8am causing congestion until about 9.30am.

Neither driver was injured.

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