A local state of emergency has been declared in Joinville, southern Brazil, after a truck carrying sulfonic acid crashed and overturned close to water, leading to a spill into the Rio Seco river.

Sulfonic acid, a corrosive chemical used in household cleaning products, poses health risks to the nose, throat, eyes, and lungs.

The incident has prompted the shutdown of the Cubatão Water Treatment Station as a precautionary measure to prevent the uptake of contaminated water. The spill is expected to impact hundreds of Joinville’s residents, affecting their access to water.

The company responsible for the truck, Buschle and Lepper, released a statement addressing the incident. The truck, operated by the outsourced company Transpare Transportes (Inlog), was transporting sulfonic acid to the Joinville distribution unit. The carrier is approved for such activities by the National Land Transport Agency (ANTT) and holds the necessary certifications for transporting chemical products.

The company expressed regret for the consequences of the spill on Joinville’s water supply and the environment. Their technicians have been collaborating with the Joinville City Hall Crisis Office to find solutions for the damage caused. The company is actively monitoring with Inlog to identify the causes of the accident, take necessary measures to mitigate socio-environmental impacts, and track the driver’s health situation.

The extent of the river’s contamination and the cause of the truck crash remain unclear as authorities work to address the situation and prevent further harm to the community and the environment.