Another freak road mishap: Tanker spills hazardous chemical in Davao City river

DAVAO CITY—The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) rang the alarm bells late Monday when a tanker truck spilled its chemical cargo into a river where it fell from a highway in a northern village here.

The Philippine Information Agency said the CDRRMO reported the accident on Tuesday several hours after a tanker truck spilled the caustic soda content when it accidentally fell into a highway cliff down to river below in Barangay Suawan in Marilog.

Marilog is 38 kilometers northwest of downtown Davao.

The accident happened on late night of Monday. The CDRRMO said one person was killed and one was injured as a result of the accident.

The volume of the chemical of the chemical that spilled into the river cannot be ascertained as of this writing, but a tanker truck has an average capacity ranging from 2,000 gallons to 4,000 gallons.

The CDRRMO has already warned all barangays along the tributary of the Davao River and along the Suawan River to alert their residents to stay away from water activities like swimming and bathing as a precaution to avoid being in contact with the harmful chemical.

The CDRRMO said caustic soda is a hazardous chemical due to its corrosive nature. It is used for cleaning and is used in the manufacture of paper, detergents and soaps.

Contact with very high concentrations of sodium hydroxide, or caustic soda, can cause severe burns to the eyes, skin, digestive system or lungs, resulting in permanent damage or death. Prolonged or repeated skin contact may cause dermatitis. Repeated inhalation of sodium hydroxide vapor can lead to permanent lung damage.

Alfredo Baluran chief of the CDRRMO said personnel from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Environment Management Bureau conducted water sampling and assessment.