Acid leak at West Bountiful refinery

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An acid leak caused the evacuation of a Davis County oil refinery this afternoon.

It sounds very dramatic -- a hydrofluoric acid leak, but officials with the fire department and with Holly Refinery tell us that leak is contained, and right now there is no risk to the general health of the public.

Employees doing maintenance on the pipe apparently opened the pipe containing the acid. Two people, a Holly employee and a contractor, were in the area and, per policy, had to be checked out by EMTs. We're told they're doing just fine.

The refinery has safety measures in place in case of a spill just like this one. When fire crews arrived, those safety measures had already been started. Chief Jim Rampton, with the South Davis Fire Department, said, "This particular product, if you put a fog water pattern on it, it'll suppress the vapors, and you don't have it up in the air, which is our biggest problem. They got on that right away."

The plant is actually shut down and has been for several days for maintenance and an expansion plan. It's something that happens about once every five years. Some people were still at the plant, though, to work on extra projects. Everyone was evacuated and is doing fine.

Earlier this year, the refinery paid $120,000 in fines for violating the Clean Air Act.

In May of this year, there was an explosion and another hydrofluoric acid leak at the same refinery.

The refinery produces 15 percent of the state's gasoline.



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Sarah Dallof and Tom Callan


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