WATCH: Footage from the Julia Creek derailment site has been released by Queensland Rail, as recovery works continue after the December 27 incident which led to the spillage of up to 31,500 litres of sulfuric acid.
Queensland Rail chief executive Helen Gluer inspected the site on north-west Queensland on Tuesday, saying she appreciated the difficult environment crews were working in.
“As site commander, Queensland Rail is coordinating the efforts of all parties to seek to ensure the recovery work of Aurizon and Incitec Pivot and rebuilding work of Queensland Rail happens safely and without further environmental impact,” Gluer said.
Queensland Rail has appointed environmental and geotechnical engineering firm Golder Associates to assist the operation.
“Golders will work closely with all parties, including the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to assess and help inform treatment of any product leakage and to help ensure the situation is managed closely.”
QR released the following footage from ground level of the derailment site:
The Aurizon locomotive and all 26 of its wagons derailed at approximately 10.20am on December 27, 2015. The wagons, owned by chemicals business Incitec Pivot, contained a total of roughly 810,000 litres of sulfuric acid.
One wagon leaked its contents, with acid reaching the nearby Horse Creek, contaminating it, according to the Department of Environment and Heritage.
Lime is being used to treat the creek, and the surrounding area.
QR revealed on Wednesday that Incitec Pivot believes one additional wagon may also have “a very minor leak,” which QR said is being treated on site.
“Queensland Rail crews are currently on site building access roads from the highway so heavy machinery can commence building the rail deviation,” Gluer continued.
“We understand that Queenslanders rely on rail for passenger and freight services and our crews are working as quickly as possible to restore services through the deviation.”
“Construction of the deviation has unfortunately been delayed due to wet ground conditions around the site, however with water beginning to clear we expect to complete the deviation late next week.”
Gluer said Queensland Rail would keep the local community informed of recovery works and environmental management. Gluer met with local mayors whilst visiting the region.
“I have committed to keeping the region updated on recovery work and the return of rail services,” she said.
“We are also working closely with freight operators to ensure that we can process freight movements as quickly as possible, following the completion of the deviation track.
“We are confident that we will have sufficient capacity with the rail deviation to process outstanding freight movements as quickly and as safely as possible.”