Acid spill in the Rhine

Nothing very much to worry about:

A tanker loaded with sulfuric acid capsized early Thursday on the Rhine river in Germany and two crew members were missing, authorities said.

There was no immediate word on why the ship sank near St. Goarshausen in western Germany, the shipping office in Bingen said. Two other crew members were rescued.

The ship was carrying 2,400 tons of sulfuric acid.

Sorry, let me correct that. 2 crew are missing so there is something to worry about, two things in fact.

But the damage that the acid might do to the river?

The Rhine (Dutch: Rijn; French: Rhin; German: Rhein; Italian: Reno; Latin: Rhenus; Romansh: Rain) flows from the Swiss Alps to the Netherlands, and is one of the longest and most important rivers in Europe, at about 1,232 km (766 mi),[2][3] with an average discharge of more than 2,000 m3/s (71,000 cu ft/s).

As close as makes no difference the sulphuric acid will be of the same density as the river water, meaning that 1 tonne equals 1 m3.

So the spill, if the acid does leak, is equal to one second of the river\’s flow. This would be diluted down so quickly that it would be difficult to actually measure the fact that it had spilled. You might be able to tell for a minute or two, but 10 to 20 minutes downstream you probably wouldn\’t.

I\’m just wondering whether we\’ll get the usual Greenpeace shouting about environmental damage here…..

4 thoughts on “Acid spill in the Rhine”

  1. 2,400 tonnes is nothing really compared to the Rhine, there’ll be some dead fish for a mile or two, a few dead plants and maybe some idiot who had jumped in might get a mouth full of diluted acid and get a minor burn, but the acid will have been all but undetectable within a few hours

  2. Your last para

    I doubt it, as their people are fully occupied in rebutting the calumnic story that GP were the root cause of the recent fires in Israel/Lebanon

    Kind regards

  3. Not strictly true. You’re regarding a river as one uniformly mixed flow of water which very few are. I can remember standing beside a french river about a couple of clicks below where a tributary joined during a flood. The main body of water was white with limestone but the tributary red with soil. Provided an interesting stripy effect in shades of pink & remarkably stable.
    Notwithstanding the Rhine there’s pretty big, especially with the snow runoffs & 2400 tons very small. No mention of the acid concentration either.

  4. I’m sure you are correct about dilution and flow and all that, but I think you’ll find the density of conc Sulphuric is actually quite a bit more than 1.

    Pop into your nearest lab and pick up a Winchester of it, you’ll soon see what I mean.

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