Chlorine Releases Continue

While it may appear that WTPs continue to report chlorine releases, keep in mind that more than 13,000 are using chlorine in making your water supply safe to drink. To find out when the last time your local WTP experienced a chlorine release in your community contact your LEPC.

Chlorine releases continue to be reported at water treatment plants (WTP) around the country. Just this week two workers at a Salisbury, Maryland, WTP were exposed to chlorine fumes and required hospitalization. One of the workers hospitalized was reported to have had asthma. For this individual, the exposure to chlorine was truly a “breath taking experience.”
The same week a Hazardous Material (HazMat) Team had to respond to a chlorine leak at a WTP in Butler County, Ohio. The leak occurred while workers were connecting a new container of chlorine to the chlorinator. Both workers immediately left the room when the leak occurred and called for assistance from their local Fire Department’s HazMat Team.
Last summer we reported on chlorine incidents at a WTP and waste water treatment plants (WWTP). In both incidents Fire Department Hazardous Material (HazMat) Teams had to be called to provide assistance in stopping the leak and protecting nearby residential communities.

Chlorine used in WTPs and WWTPs comes in various forms; gaseous (100%); granular (70%) and commercial liquid bleach (12%). All forms of chlorine are hazardous and can produce fatal concentrations. Gaseous chlorine comes in 90-ton rail cars, ton containers and 150-lb cylinders. Only a few larger WTPs continue to use chlorine supplied in 90-ton rain cars. About 3,000 use gaseous chlorine in ton containers, and more than 10,000 smaller WTPs are use 150-lb cylinders.

WTPs having more than 2,500 lbs of gaseous chlorine at a facility are required to submit a Risk Management Plan (RMP) to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The RMP must include the impact that a hypothetical “worst-case” release would have on the surrounding community.

A “worst-case” release is defined by EPA as the maximum distance that would be impacted at the emergency response planning guideline level two (ERPG-2), if the total contents of a container were released within a ten-minute period. The ERPG-2 for chlorine gas is about 3 parts per million (ppm). During a worst-case release of a one-ton chlorine container, the ERPG-2 distance could extend up to 2.6 miles from the point of release.

More than 14,500 chemical facilities in the U.S. must prepare RMP plans and submit them to EPA, local fire department and the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). Of the more than 4,300 RMP facilities reporting the use of gaseous chlorine an estimated 3,000 (70%) are operated by water and waste water utilities.
While it may appear that WTPs continue to report chlorine releases, keep in mind that more than 13,000 are using chlorine in making your water supply safe to drink. Chances are that the WTP in your community has never experienced an accidental release of chlorine. In fact, the vast majority of WTPs have never had a chlorine related incident. To find out when the last time your local WTP experienced a chlorine release in your community contact your LEPC. Information on how to contact the LEPC in your community can be obtained from EPA at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/oswer/lepcdb.nsf/HomePage.

For more information: ttp://scienceray.com/biology/ecology/chlorine-releases-continue/#ixzz19WRIuWHV

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