The Lynchburg Fire Marshal’s Office has been monitoring the release of chemicals from Cathcart Rail (formerly Buncher Rail Car Service) storage tanks located on Hydro Street that have been producing a toxic odor in the area. The Lynchburg Fire Department received a call about a chemical odor near downtown on April 3, and upon investigation, they discovered the source of the smell was a store on Hydro Street.
Last week, fire marshals conducted a follow-up investigation and identified the source as a tank containing around 2,200 gallons of ethyl acrylate, which is used in the manufacturing of resin, plastic, and rubber materials. The LFD reported that the tank was leaking very slowly and that the leak was contained in the immediate vicinity. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Department of Environmental Quality have both been notified.
Two companies are now working with the company responsible for the tank on cleanup work, which is expected to begin this week. Ethyl acrylate is a flammable liquid with an extremely pungent odor, and residents of the Rivermont and downtown areas may notice a strong chemical odor. However, LFD stated that there is no public health risk from this leak.
Overall, it appears that the authorities are taking swift action to address the chemical leak and prevent any further harm to the surrounding area.